Hisham Zerriffi is an Associate Professor in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  He was previously an Assistant Professor and the Ivan Head South/North Research Chair in the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC.  Dr. Zerriffi’s research is at the intersection of technology, energy and the environment, with a particular focus on rural areas of the developing world. Much of his research focuses on institutional factors impacting the diffusion of new technology, determinants and patterns of household energy choice and welfare implications of rural energy use. Prior to joining the UBC Faculty, Dr. Zerriffi was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University. Dr. Zerriffi holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy.


Residue-Based Bioenergy Production in India

Abstract: The potential of agricultural residues to contribute to India’s energy supply has been the subject of numerous technical analyses and estimates. This project addresses two key information gaps in the current state of knowledge. First is the need for more spatially explicitly information regarding potential energy production as compared to potential energy demand. Prior estimates have mainly produced national aggregate estimates but both potential energy production from residues and the demand for electricity in rural areas is highly heterogenous. Using secondary data on crop production and population estimates are made for energy production and demand at a 5 arc-min resolution scale for all of India. The second gap is regarding the markets for agricultural residues. A significant use of residues for energy production in rural India can only occur if residue markets are favourable (in terms of price, price volatility, security of supply, etc.). Conversely, extensive use of residues could result in spillover effects on other users of residues. However, markets for residues have not been extensively researched and documented. In this project a survey of ~300 rice mills in Bihar, India is used to understand how residues are disposed of, the current customer base for residues, contracts and price formation and the impact that selling residues to power generators has on the market.

UBC Post-Doctoral Fellow: Reza Kowsari

UBC Students: Jacob Cosman, Vikas Menghwani, Brianne Riehl

External Collaborators: Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy Bangalore

Funding: International Development Research Centre

Interventions for Cooking and Indoor Air in India

Abstract: This project has four broad objectives, linked to feasible improvements in clean stove design and dissemination and their impacts on health and climate: 1) assess the acceptability and availability of different stove technologies and fuels, 2) experiment by varying stove price and social interactions among users to determine the impact of these variables on stove adoption rates, 3) measure in situ the impacts of stove adoption on indoor and outdoor air pollution, and climate-forcing, and 4) model the impacts of widespread stove adoption on regional and global climate through a range of scenarios directly informed by data from the field. The project combines survey and focus group assessment of willingness-to-pay (WTP), trials of stove dissemination examining stove adoption rates at full and partial subsidies and with different levels of social interactions between adopters; community-driven input to stove redesign; in situ emissions testing and air quality monitoring; and, climate modeling.

UBC Collaborators: Gary Bull (Forestry)

UBC Students: Devyani Singh (Forestry), Vikas Menghwani (RMES)

External Collaborators: Robert Bailis (Stockholm Environment Institute), Puneet Dwivedi (University of Georgia), Julian Marshall (University of Washington), Andrew Grieshop (North Carolina State University), Mamta Chandar (Jagriti), Pradeep Talashery (Samuha)

Funding: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Monitoring and evaluation of adoption and use of LPG for cooking in rural Gujarat

Abstract: Millions of households in India rely on burning biomass to meet their basic cooking needs. This is hazardous to health as well as having other socio-economic and environmental costs. This project would establish a novel approach to disseminating cleaner cooking technologies and fuels. The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is an organization representing two million self-employed women in India. It is working with the Global Liquid Petroleum Gas Partnership (GLPGP) to both set up a women-led distribution system for clean fuels at the same time as working with their members to educate them about the benefits of clean cooking. UBC researchers will provide independent monitoring and verification of a pilot project (4000 households) as a stepping-stone to a larger project that could potentially reach a few hundred thousand households.

UBC Collaborators: Sumeet Gulati (Land and Food Systems), Michael Brauer (School of Population and Public Health)

UBC Students: Abhishek Kar, RMES

External Collaborators/Partners: Elisa Puzzolo (Global LPG Partnership), Anurag Bathnagar (Self-Employed Women’s Association), Michelle Bashin (Public Health Institute), Kapil Goel (Public Health Institute), Mike Sage (U.S. Centers for Disease Control), Sumi Mehta (Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves)

Funding: Peter Wall Solutions Initiative (PWSI – UBC), additional funding pending

Indigenous Community Development: Implications of Payments for Ecosystem Services

Abstract: In 2011, the province of British Columbia agreed to equally share revenues from forest carbon offset projects with coastal First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest. Since that time, the project has evolved to become one of the most significant in the world. It is the largest ecosystem service project area and the second largest source of carbon emissions reductions in the world. Global financial markets are rapidly emerging to value natural systems. From clean water to forests and biodiversity, these systems contribute to economic development and human well-being. Traditionally, we have borrowed these ‘ecosystem services’ from nature or taken them for free, but increasingly, markets are emerging that put a price and value on these resources. For instance, the forest carbon programs from the United Nations (REDD+) and the World Bank (FCPF) aim to safeguard the rights of indigenous populations while developing mechanisms that enhance greenhouse gas storage and capture from improved forestry practices.

Our goal is to examine how the global policy objective of climate change mitigation and adaptation can be achieved in a manner that is consistent with the rights and interests of indigenous peoples. By studying the implications of forest carbon projects for indigenous peoples in British Columbia, this research will inform the development and implementation of best practice in forest carbon and ecosystem service projects with appropriate social and environmental safeguards.

Our research focuses on three key questions:

1.How do potential and actual markets for carbon and related ecosystem services, mediated through non-indigenous institutions, impact the institutional frameworks and property rights of indigenous communities?

2.How might the financial benefits of these markets and programs affect social and economic conditions in indigenous communities and the local environment?

3.What are institutional design requirements that ensure that global demand for carbon sequestration occurs in a manner that ensures indigenous peoples benefit from their interactions with international carbon and ecosystem service markets?

UBC Collaborators: Gary Bull, Janette Bulkan, James Tansey, Verena Griess

UBC Students: Tonya Smith

Funding: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Learning Landscapes Program: University of Central Asia and UBC

Abstract: This collaborative project brings together researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of Central Asia in order to develop a research framework that will guide the development of long-term socio-ecological research by UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute. MSRI’s Learning Landscapes program seeks to use participatory research centred at the three UCA campuses in order to better understand and help improve socio-ecological conditions. In addition to developing a theoretical framework for this effort, UBC and MSRI researchers are collaborating on specific multi-disciplinary research project to assess pasture health in the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, an agro-pastorlist area that is facing both changes in social systems (e.g. pasture governance systems) and ecological conditions.

UBC Collaborators: Shannon Hagerman (Forestry), Sarah Gergel (Forestry)

UBC Post-Doctoral Fellow: Jordan Levine (Liu Institute for Global Issues)

UBC Graduate Student: Ian Eddy (Forestry)

External Collaborators: Marc Foggin, Christian Hergarten, Zhyldyz Shigaeva, MSRI Staff (all from Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia)

Funding: The University of Central Asia (through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development)

Current Courses

Winter 2020

CONS452 Global Perspectives Capstone Sections

Examination of global resources and sustainability via scenario evaluation, modelling, and prescription.

Winter 2020

CONS425 Sustainable Energy: Policy and Governance Sections

Energy as a global policy problem; current energy challenges; energy systems and energy analysis; the politics and policy of energy alternatives.

Selected Publications

Lauren Nerfa, Jeanine M. Rhemtulla, Hisham Zerriffi (2020). Forest dependence is more than forest income: Development of a new index of forest product collection and livelihood resources World Development 125
Alexandros Korkovelos, Hisham Zerriffi, Mark Howells, Morgan Bazilian, H-Holger Rogner, Francesco Fuso Nerini (2020). A Retrospective Analysis of Energy Access with a Focus on the Role of Mini-Grids Sustainability
Sandeep Pai, Hisham Zerriffi, Jessica Jewell, Jaivik Pathak (2020). Solar has greater techno-economic resource suitability than wind for replacing coal mining jobs Environmental Research Letters
Vikas Menghwani, Hisham Zerriffi, Alexandros Korkovelos, Babak Khavari, Andreas Sahlberg, Mark Howells, Dimitris Mentis (2020). Planning with justice: Using spatial modelling to incorporate justice in electricity pricing – The case of Tanzania Applied Energy 264
Abhishek Kar, Michael Brauer, Rob Bailis, Hisham Zerriffi (2020). The risk of survey bias in self-reports vs. actual consumption of clean cooking fuels World Development Perspectives
Kelly Sharp, Hisham Zerriffi, Philippe Le Billon (2019). Land scarcity, resettlement and food security: Assessing the effect of voluntary resettlement on diet quality in Malawi Food Security
E. Puzzolo, H. Zerriffi, E. Carter, H. Clemens, H. Stokes, P. Jagger, J. Rosenthal, and H. Petach (2019). Supply Considerations for Scaling Up Clean Cooking Fuels for Household Energy in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries GeoHealth
Levine, J, A Isaeva, H Zerriffi, IMS Eddy, M Foggin, SE Gergel, and SM Hagerman (2019). Testing for consensus on Kyrgyz rangelands: local perceptions in Naryn Oblast Ecology & Society 24: 36
Kelly Sharp, Philippe Le Billon and Hisham Zerriffi (2019). Land reforms and voluntary resettlement: household participation and attrition rates in Malawi Journal of Peasant Studies 46:5/956-982
Vikas Menghwani, Hisham Zerriffi, Puneet Dwivedi, Julian D. Marshall, Andrew Grieshop, and Rob Bailis (2019). Determinants of Cookstoves and Fuel Choice Among Rural Households in India EcoHealth 16(1)
Francesco Fuso Nerini, Benjamin Sovacool, Nick Hughes, Laura Cozzi, Ellie Cosgrave, Mark Howells, Massimo Tavoni, Julia Tomei, Hisham Zerriffi and Ben Milligan (2019). Connecting climate action with other Sustainable Development Goals Nature Sustainability
Abhishek Kar, Shonali Pachauri, Rob Bailis, Hisham Zerriffi (2019). Using sales data to assess cooking gas adoption and the impact of India’s Ujjwala programme in rural Karnataka Nature Energy
Tonya Smith, Janette Bulkan, Hisham Zerriffi, James Tansey (2019). Indigenous peoples, local communities, and Payments for Ecosystem Services The Canadian Geographer
Yu Wang, Mahmood Ebadian, Shahab Sokhansanj, Erin Webb, Hisham Zerriffi, Anthony Lau (2018). A novel risk analysis methodology to evaluate the economic performance of a biorefinery and to quantify the economic incentives for participating biomass producers Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Michiko Namazu, Don MacKenzie, Hisham Zerriffi, and Hadi Dowlatabadi (2018). Is Carsharing for Everyone? Understanding the Diffusion of Carsharing Services Transport Policy
Rene Reyes, Harry Nelson, Hisham Zerriffi (2018). Firewood: Cause or Consequence? Underlying Drivers of Firewood Production in the south of Chile Energy for Sustainable Development
Joleen Timko, Philippe Le Billon, Hisham Zerriffi, Jordi Honey-Roses, Ian de la Roche, Chris Gaston, Terence Sunderland, and Robert Kozak, (2018). A policy nexus approach to forests and the SDGs: tradeoffs and synergies Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Volume 34, Pages 7-12.
Abhishek Kar and Hisham Zerriffi (2018). From cookstove acquisition to cooking transition: Framing the behavioural aspects of cookstove interventions Energy Research and Social Sciences
Francesco Fuso Nerini, Nick Hughes, Laura Cozzi, Ellie Cosgrave, Mark Howells, Benjamin Sovacool, Massimo Tavoni, Julia Tomei, Hisham Zerriffi, Ben Milligan (2018). Correspondence: Use SDGs to guide climate action Nature
D. Singh, T. Aung, H. Zerriffi (2018). Resource Collection Polygons: A spatial analysis of woodfuel collection patterns Energy for Sustainable Development
Sameer Shah and Hisham Zerriffi (2017). Urban Water Demand, climatic variation, and irrigation-water insecurity: interactive stressors and lessons for water governance from the Angat River basin (Philippines) Water International
Devyani Singh, Shonali Pachauri, Hisham Zerriffi (2017). Environmental Payoffs of LPG Cooking in India Environmental Research Letters
Eddy, IMS, Sarah E Gergel, Nicholas C Coops, Geoffrey M Henebry, Jordan Levine, Hisham Zerriffi, Evgenii Shibkov (2017). Integrating remote sensing and local ecological knowledge to monitor rangeland dynamics Ecological indicators 82: 106-116
Jordan Levine, Aiganysh Isaeva, Ian Eddy, Marc Foggin, Sarah Gergel, Shannon Hagerman, Hisham Zerriffi (2017). A cognitive approach to the post-Soviet Central Asian pasture puzzle: new data from Kyrgyzstan Regional Environmental Change 17(3), 941-947
Hisham Zerriffi, Sam Hargadine, Jessica Gajarsa, Joseph Schumacher (2017). Synthesis Report: Decentralized Energy Portfolio Review United States Agency for International Development
Hisham Zerriffi, Hari Natarajan, Narmada Purohit, Sam Hargadine (2017). COUNTRY REPORT AND CASE STUDY SUMMARIES – INDIA DECENTRALIZED ENERGY PORTFOLIO REVIEW United States Agency for International Development
Elizabeth Baldwin, Hisham Zerriffi, Jessica Gajarsa, Sam Hargadine (2017). COUNTRY REPORT AND CASE STUDY SUMMARIES – TANZANIA DECENTRALIZED ENERGY PORTFOLIO REVIEW United States Agency for International Development
Robert Bailis, Hisham Zerriffi, Jessica Gajarsa, Sam Hargadine (2017). COUNTRY REPORT AND CASE STUDY SUMMARIES – BRAZIL DECENTRALIZED ENERGY PORTFOLIO REVIEW United States Agency for International Development
Abhishek Kar and Hisham Zerriffi (2017). Accelerating the blue-flame revolution in India Express News Service
Abhishek Kar and Hisham Zerriffi (2017). What is worse than breathing Delhi air? Rural India chokes on solid fuel fumes every day FirstPost
Shigaeva, Jyldyz, Shannon Hagerman, Hisham Zerriffi, Chris Hergarten, Aiganysh Isaeva, Zuura Mamadalieva & Marc Foggin (2016). Decentralizing governance of agropastoral systems: The development and practice of “local governance” during the transitional phase of pasture reforms in Kyrgyzstan Mountain Research and Development 36 (1), 91-101
B Riehl, H Zerriffi, R Naidoo (2015). Effects of community-based natural resource management on household welfare in Namibia PloS one 10 (5), e0125531
OE Freeman, H Zerriffi (2015). Complexities and challenges in the emerging cookstove carbon market in India Energy for Sustainable Development 24, 33-43
OE Freeman, H Zerriffi (2014). How you count carbon matters: implications of differing cookstove carbon credit methodologies for climate and development cobenefits Environmental science & technology 48 (24), 14112-14120
Reza Kowsari, Hisham Zerriffi (2011). Three dimensional energy profile:: A conceptual framework for assessing household energy use Energy Policy 39 (12), 7505-7517
G Shrimali, X Slaski, MC Thurber, H Zerriffi (2011). Improved stoves in India: A study of sustainable business models Energy Policy 39 (12), 7543-7556
W Foell, S Pachauri, D Spreng, H Zerriffi (2011). Household cooking fuels and technologies in developing economies Energy Policy 39 (12), 7487-7496
Shonali Pachauri, Abeeku Brew-Hammond, DF Barnes, DH Bouille, S Gitonga, V Modi, G Prasad, A Rath, H Zerriffi (2011). Energy Access for Development The Global Energy Assessment: Toward a More Sustainable Future. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria and Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA
H. Zerriffi (2011). Innovative business models for the scale-up of energy access efforts for the poorest Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 3 (4), 272-278
SD Donner, M Kandlikar, H Zerriffi (2011). Preparing to manage climate change financing Science
Hisham Zerriffi (2010). Rural electrification: strategies for distributed generation Springer