Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires – the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people in the developing world – causes four million premature deaths annually. It is the fourth worst overall health risk factor in the world, and second worst for women and girls. Traditional cookstoves are also an important contributor to climate change at the regional and global level, and contribute over 20 percent of global black carbon emissions. Reliance on biomass for cooking and heating forces women and children to spend hours each week collecting wood, during which time they often face severe personal security risks , especially in conflict zones. Cooking over open fires also puts women and girls at risk of debilitating burns and increases pressure on local natural resources (e.g., forests, wildlife habitat).
In September 2010, the U.S. Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency helped launch the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York, NY. The Alliance is an innovative public-private partnership, led by the United Nations Foundation and comprising over 600 partners to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The use of clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels can save fuel and dramatically reduce exposure to cookstove smoke. Development of a global clean cookstove industry that is constantly innovating to improve design and performance and meet women’s needs as cooks, while making clean stoves and fuels more affordable, can lead the way to widespread adoption of clean cooking solutions.
The Alliance’s ‘100 by 20’ goal calls for 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient stoves and fuels by 2020. The U.S. Government has made a broad set of commitments to help the Alliance promote a more effective cookstoves sector. These commitments focus on the following:
1. DIPLOMACY: Lead a wide range of diplomatic activities to advance the Alliance and the cookstoves sector.
2. HEALTH: Fund over $27 million to research and evaluate the health benefits of reducing exposure to cookstove smoke and establishing a state-of-the-art cookstoves testing laboratory to allow for greater transparency in performance around metric that determine health impacts.
3. CLIMATE: Fund over $3.5 million to better understand how cookstove interventions affect climate change, quantify climate-forcing emissions from cookstoves, and evaluate and assess the climate benefits of black carbon emission reductions.
4. TECHNOLOGY AND FUELS: Fund over $18 million to develop advanced, innovative cookstove designs and tools that allow users to burn wood or crop residues more efficiently and cleanly, and to test innovative technologies in both the lab and the field.
5. ADOPTION: Fund over $6 million to understand and promote sustained adoption of clean stoves, with a broader overarching goal of developing evidence-based, practical approaches to scaling-up and sustaining these interventions.
6. FINANCING: Invest up to $50 million in debt financing or insurance to support businesses that provide clean, consistent, and affordable access to energy and energy savings through the manufacture, sale, and purchase of clean cookstoves and fuels.
7. BRINGING CLEAN COOKING TO FAMILIES: Fund over $10 million to build cookstoves markets that can sustainably bring clean and efficient cooking solutions to families around the globe.
Learn more at www.cleancookstoves.org.