What is it about?

Wood fuel is a commonly used source of fuel for cooking food. However, the use of wood fuel releases a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major cause for global warming. Using cookstoves that release lesser CO2 on burning wood fuel, can reduce this negative impact. Over the years, the design of cookstoves has been constantly improved for this purpose. Researchers studied the costs and benefits of using improved cookstoves for reducing CO2 emissions. They also identified countries where switching to improved cookstoves can greatly reduce CO2 emissions.

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Why is it important?

Almost one third of the world’s population uses wood fuel for cooking. CO2 released from this use amounts to 7% of the total global CO2 emissions. Most of these emissions come from Africa, Asia, and Oceania. In the past, programs to reduce CO2 emissions through the use of improved cookstoves were not very successful. Besides high costs, poor design, and lack of training, they failed to involve local people. Having worked on these issues, recent initiatives have shown promising results. Moreover, with mounting concerns about climate change, improved cookstoves have become popular again. In this context, the study finds that the benefits of switching to improved cookstoves are far more than the costs involved. Importantly, improved cookstoves can provide these benefits while using the same type of fuel wood. Thus, these results can boost the use of improved cookstoves. In the long run, this can reduce CO2 emissions from fuel wood use. KEY TAKEAWAY: Improved cookstoves can reduce CO2 emissions from fuel wood use. They can also save fuel wood costs for households and preserve forest resources. Globally, this benefit can be reaped the most by countries in Africa and Asia. Thus, their usage should be promoted through campaigns, awareness programs and financial help.

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This page is a summary of: The potential for improved cookstoves to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, International Forestry Review, December 2018, Commonwealth Forestry Association, DOI: 10.1505/146554818825240683.
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