Nearly 2.9 billion people – more than India and China put together—still use polluting fuels like wood and coal to cook and heat their homes, at a huge cost to the society, in terms of health, environmental and economic costs, estimated at over US$123 billion every year. These numbers underline the urgent need to accelerate the adoption of clean, efficient cooking fuels, which can save millions of lives and help reach sustainable energy goals by 2030, according to a new report.

A new report, “The State of the Global Clean and Improved Cooking Sector,”also states that further investment and active efforts from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector will be critical to addressing the issue.

Released by the World Bank and the Alliance at the second Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York on May 19, the report comes at a time when the world is striving to achieve three sustainable energy goals—universal access to energy, doubling of renewable energy share, and doubling the gains of energy efficiency. Access to clean, efficient cooking fuels and devices is one of the main priorities of the push towards universal energy access.

For the last four years, an international effort led by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, with participation from the World Bank and other international organizations, has been working to help 100 million households worldwide adopt clean and efficient cooking solutions. The partnership is focusing on private sector capacity building, fostering enabling markets, policy change and addressing barriers by region and segment.