Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves: Cooking and the climate

You’re likely reading this blog because you care about global climate change. And like most people, you probably enjoy cooking a meal or dining out at a restaurant with family and friends.

Did you ever stop to think that the seemingly simple act of cooking is one of the greatest contributors to negative health and environmental impacts in the world?

It’s true.

About 3 billion people rely on solid fuels to cook their daily meal. When burned, fuels like wood, charcoal, coal – even animal dung – create a hazardous smoke that leads to heart and lung diseases, cancers, cataracts, burns, and other impacts that claim 4 million lives annually.

That household air pollution (HAP) doesn’t just stay indoors, however. It escapes into communities: half a million of the estimated 4 million annual deaths happen outside the home. The smoke also gets swept up in global winds and weather patterns, and becomes part of the atmosphere. By one estimate, 25% of black carbon emissions in the atmosphere – a major contributor to climate change – come from the residential cooking sector.

Back on earth, the overuse of wood fuel can put women and children in harm’s way and wreak havoc on the environment. Trekking long distances – particularly in conflict, disaster, or rural areas – subjects women and children to risks such as exposure, human and animal attack, and injury. And the gathering of such wood can destabilize communities by exacerbating the impacts of inclement weather and eroding soil quality.

Access to clean, safe, efficient and affordable cookstoves and fuels, therefore, is one of the most pressing global development needs of our time. And it is under that remit that the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves formed in 2010 with a mission to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and protect the environment through the creation of a global market for clean cooking solutions.

Clean cookstoves

Photo Credit: Romana Manpreet

The Alliance works with more than 800 public, private and nonprofit sector partners across 6 continents in areas such as research, financing, investment, advocacy, standards and testing, market development, gender and humanitarian affairs, livelihood enhancement, and more.

A partnership with an organization like ClimateCare makes strategic and practical sense: they are focused on achieving a cleaner and more sustainable environment and improving people’s lives. They specialize in mobilizing and leveraging private capital for projects to achieve this, and led creation of the methodology that first made carbon finance for clean cookstove projects possible.

The Alliance supports the use of the carbon market as a way to finance cookstove projects to the benefit of investors, businesses, and consumers alike, and working closely with ClimateCare in this regard is tremendously important for the Alliance, too.

With half the world’s population still cooking as their ancestors have done since the beginning of human history, the Alliance has its work cut out for it. But we believe our ambitious goal of 100 million households adopting clean cooking solutions by 2020 is quite achievable, and we hope that you and your organization will join our cause to build a world in which cooking does not kill.

Sean Bartlett is the senior communications officer for the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. He can be reached at