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Clean cooking

Cooking helped us survive… modern energy cooking services can make us thrive

Yabei zhang's picture
About 30 years ago, I lived in a village in China's Xinjiang province where I remember having to collect firewood for cooking and heating as part of my chores. In fact, as part of summer homework, we also needed to turn in a big bundle of firewood when the school started in the fall, which would be used to heat the classroom, together with coal.

Cooking with firewood was not only a tough job because of all the smoke but also required skills and experience. If the fire was not well controlled, the rice could be easily burned. Before I was old enough to take on this job, our family moved to a city apartment with access to district heating and we also started to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking. Since then, our daily life has been transformed.
 
However, not everyone is as lucky as me. 

Can Asia-Pacific achieve sustainable energy for all?

Sharmila Bellur's picture

The Asia-Pacific region, comprised of 58 economies, is geographically expansive and a picture of diversity. The trends for sustainable energy in Asia-Pacific, which mirror the region’s economic and resource diversity, are underscored by the fact that Asia-Pacific comprises 60 percent of the global population, generates 32 percent of global GDP, consumes more than half of the global energy supply, while generating 55 percent of global emissions from fuel combustion. The region’s sustainable energy picture is captured in a new report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), entitled “Asia-Pacific Progress in Sustainable Energy: A Global Tracking Framework 2017 Regional Assessment Report.” The report is based on the World Bank and International Energy Agency’s Global Tracking Framework (GTF), which tracks the progress of countries on energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy under Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7).
 
Photo credit: Flickr/World Bank

Four overarching sustainable energy themes emerge from the report:

Let's come clean about dirty cooking

Anita Marangoly George's picture
Photo by Rodney Rascona / Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Really – let’s.

It’s a fact: Indoor air pollution from cooking with solid fuels including wood, charcoal, coal, animal dung, and crop waste in open fires and traditional stoves is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, after heart and lung disease and respiratory infection.

Nearly 2.9 billion people, a majority of whom are women, still cook with dirty, smoke and soot-producing cookstoves and solid fuels. That’s more people using these dangerous appliances than the entire populations of India and China put together.

This has to change. And change is happening as I heard from the various discussions that took place in Accra, Ghana at the Clean Cooking Forum 2015 last week.  Hearing the Minister of Petroleum of Ghana and the Deputy Minister for Gender and Development, I realize that the ambition to provide clean cookstoves and cleaner fuels to the households who need it most is definitely there. But transforming ambition into reality is a challenge. This is true not just in Ghana but in many other parts of the world.    

I have been thinking a lot about this lately, especially as we come up on the climate change conference (COP21) in Paris, where world leaders will gather to reach a universal agreement on mitigating the effects of climate change. Adopting clean energy sources is key to reach that goal. To that end, the UN’s sustainable energy goal (SDG7) that aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all also aims for bringing clean cooking solutions to the 2.9 billion who do not have it today.

Three Steps to Stop Kitchen Smoke from Killing More Women and Children

S. Vijay Iyer's picture

Photo Credit: Practical Action

I’m back from the 2013 Clean Cooking Forum in Phnom Penh, and impressed with the insights shared by practitioners and household fuel experts from around the world. It’s good to see clean cooking at the center of the global development agenda. But to live up to expectations, we’ll need to keep working hard.

Mobilizing a $100 Billion Market to Bring Clean Cooking Solutions to the Poor

S. Vijay Iyer's picture

Harmful fumes from a traditional outdoor wood stove, Lesotho

I’m on my way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the 2013 Clean Cooking Forum organized by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Consider this stunning fact:  household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels kills four million people each year. That’s the finding of the latest Global Burden of Disease study, published in December 2012.