A new book advocates for a more aggressive approach to address climate change. Drawdown, released this month by author and entrepreneur Paul Hawken, highlights some of the most pressing solutions – including clean cooking – to significantly reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to slow and solve climate change.
Currently, food production is a leading cause of global warming through overconsumption of fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and nitrous oxide gases. Hawken explains that one solution is to capture carbon -- not emit it -- which can increase fertility, soil health, water availability, crop yields, and ultimately nutrition and food security. Cleaner cooking helps achieves all of this. The Alliance is working towards these goals through the adoption of clean and/or efficient cookstoves and fuels to replace inefficient biomass stoves use will bring about a confluence of positive impacts for people’s health, women empowerment, and efficient fuel combustion.
40% of the global population still use solid fuels, including wood, charcoal, animal dung, and crop residues for cooking. The household air pollution produced from burning these fuels leads to death, disability, and harmful effects on the environment. For the climate, unsustainable cooking contributes to 2-5% of annual greenhouse gas emissions worldwide from harvesting and deforestation. Burning fuels also emit carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants into the air, including carbon monoxide and black carbon. Black carbon is especially responsible for ozone layer depletion because of its light absorbance, soaking a million times more energy than an equal amount of carbon dioxide.
One solution to emissions-reduction and thus helping curb climate change is clean cooking. New cookstove technologies, including an intermediate chimney rocket, new gasification technology, and solar cookers are all existing solutions in reducing biomass consumption. Drawdown highlights the Alliance as the primary leader in the clean cooking sector in its efforts to create a global market for sustainable household cooking technologies. At the forefront of the Alliance’s mission are affordability, scaling adoption, and developing international standards to effectively reduce pressure on forests and cut down on air pollution/greenhouse gas emissions.