Smoky cookstoves bigger killer than malaria, US study finds

One in every two of us on the planet cooks our dinner on open fires or primitive stoves – that’s 3 billion people. The result is kitchens filled with smoke that blackens lungs as well as the walls, causing pneumonia and chronic lung disease. The worst affected are women and children.

ClimateCare has frequently told this story, of just how significant a problem is indoor air pollution, and a recent study by the US National Institute of health (NIH) has provided a new estimation of the impact. Published in the journal Science it found that indoor air pollution kills almost 2 million people per year – that’s than malaria.

“Many people in developed countries don’t realise that smoke from indoor cooking file is a terrible scourge on the health of a large number of people,” said co-author Francis Collins, director of the NIH.

The authors noted that: programs to promote efficient stoves are already underway; that they are most successful when they help create/support a market for affordable stoves rather than giving them away; and that it is crucial to involve stove users – invariably women – in the design in order to make them appropriate for their culture and cuisine and ensure enthusiastic uptake.

ClimateCare has been funding and developing efficient stoves projects in some of the world’s poorest countries for many years. Our world leading experts wrote the first efficient stoves methodology for the Gold Standard back in 2009.

In fact, we are one of the biggest stove funders in the world.  Through our innovative projects we have already helped to deliver:

  • over 1.6 million stoves developing world countries
  • benefitting over 7.5 million people

Beyond ‘voluntary carbon’ ClimateCare is at the forefront of developing and implementing innovative Climate and Development Finance models to deliver projects that both reduce emissions and help deliver the Millennium Development Goals.  This is providing new and additional support to those who need it most in tackling the effects of climate change.

We believe that this is an exciting time for mobilising public and private investment to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues,which efficient stove projects help to do; reducing poverty, ill health and environmental damage. We have developed a number of models which make investment more attractive to the private sector and, with over 14 years’ experience developing projects on the ground in the LDCs, we are uniquely placed to mitigate the risk in project selection and implementation.

Already millions of the world’s poorest have benefited from efficient stove programs supported through carbon finance. That’s on top of the millions of tons of carbon emissions avoided and thousands of hectares of forest protected

It’s good to see this study helping to give this crucial problem and its simple solution wider attention.