Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saving millions of lives and protecting our climate through clean cooking options

28.11.2011
For many people in the developing world getting enough food to eat is a persistent challenge. However the challenge does not stop there. A new issue of the international journal Energy Policy details the human and environmental cost of cooking food using the only energy source available to many people, woody biomass.

The Special Issue explores the type of decision frameworks that are needed to guide policy development for clean cooking fuels and to ensure that the provision of clean energy becomes a central component of sustainable development. Additionally, it presents a research agenda and an action agenda to facilitate the development and adoption of cleaner cooking fuels and technologies and analyses why past programs to improve access to clean cooking fuels have succeeded or failed.

Universal access to clean energy is a stated goal of the United Nations and is a key entry point for reducing emissions of black carbon and other particulates - known to negatively impact the climate. The scale of the issue and opportunity to minimise emissions through adoption of clean cooking fuels and stoves was highlighted in a new report from the UN Environment Program released on Friday 25th November and will be a focus of discussions at the UNFCCC climate talks commencing in Durban today.

While the use of biomass for cooking is in itself not a cause for concern, it is the unsustainable harvesting and dirty and inefficient burning of the wood that inhibits social and economic development, harms the environment, and takes a significant toll on human health. Latest estimates from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) indicate that in 2005, over 2 million people, mostly woman and children, died prematurely due to household air pollution – soot and other particles that are emitted when biomass is burned indoors in poorly ventilated environments.

“The collection and burning of woody biomass to cook food has consequences on many levels,” says co editor of the Special Issue and a lead author Shonali Pachauri from IIASA. “It traps women [in particular] in poverty as they must devote much of their time to wood collection. It affects the environment and climate due to deforestation and the emission of black carbon and greenhouse gases that result from burning, and tragically it is costing the lives of many woman and children in the developing world, predominantly in India, sub-Saharan African nations and China.”

The articles presented in the Special Issue consider the options for transitioning the nearly 2.7 billion people globally who are reliant on traditional biomass fuels to cleaner cooking fuels, such as LPG, biogas, ethanol and biodiesel, as well as electricity. “Much of the emphasis to date has been on increasing access to electricity, which while important may be too slow a path and may not address cooking energy needs (electricity is rarely used for cooking in many developing countries). Providing improved cooking stoves to households will have an immediate positive impact on people and the environment.

The issue presents new research findings on many issues associated with resolving the challenge of improving access to clean fuels and cookstoves including; how to measure and monitor energy poverty; an evaluation of the health and climate benefits of cookstove replacement options; how to improve the likelihood of adoption and sustained use of cleaner cooking stoves and fuels, and a cost - benefit analysis of reducing indoor air pollution. The research draws strongly on case studies conducted in India, Nepal, Kenya, Sudan, Indonesia and Mexico.

The issue also refers to several significant and recent initiatives established to raise awareness and improve access to clean cooking options and explains why they may or may not succeed. One example is the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an international program established in 2010 with a goal of equipping 100 million homes with clean cooking stoves and fuel by 2020. The program is based on the idea that carbon credits will encourage the adoption of clean cooking stoves. However, experience to date suggests that only international players with good contacts to international institutions will be able to access this money. This raises questions about how likely the program is to be adopted and persist at the community level, but also raises the more important issue of how business and the policy communities must work with communities to facilitate change.

The articles included in this Special Issue reflect discussions that were held at an Istanbul Workshop in 2008 as part of the annual conference of the International Association for Energy Economics. Participants included the public and private sector as well as NGOs and donor organizations representing Asia, Africa and OECD countries. The Workshop brought energy economists and policy makers together to better understand the knowledge deficit when it comes to overcoming energy poverty and the enormous opportunities for the business, research and international development communities to work together to overcome this pervasive and harmful issue.

Universal access to clean energy remains a key goal of organizations like the United Nations and is a significant impediment to attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. It is also key to achieving other global objectives with regards to climate change mitigation and ecosystem management. The research presented in this issue helps to inform how to achieve access for all.

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/INF/PR/2011/2011-11-28.html

Full bibliographic information
Energy Policy Vol 39 (2011) Household cooking fuels and technologies in developing countries. Shonali Pachauri, Hisham Zerriffi, Wesley Foell, Daniel Spreng (Editors).

Leane Regan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.iiasa.ac.at

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers take next step toward fusion energy
16.11.2017 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Desert solar to fuel centuries of air travel
16.11.2017 | SolarPACES

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>