Studies Seek Paths to Clean Cooking Solutions
Coinciding with the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector Directions Paper, which pledges to “expand engagement in clean cooking and heating solutions,” several recent studies analyze the household fuels problem, which has defied solution for generations. These Bank Group studies, What have we learned about household biomass cooking in Central America?, Pathways to Cleaner Household Cooking in Lao PDR, and Indonesia – Toward Universal Access to Clean Cooking, all point to similar causes of failure of earlier efforts to implement safe cooking solutions:
- Lack of awareness in households that cooking smoke causes respiratory illness that can bring an early death
- Easy, cheap (often free) availability of wood or other biomass
- Cleaner, safer cooking options, including liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas, biogas, or efficient cookstoves that dramatically reduce the dangers of biomass combustion have not been available, affordable, or sustainable.
A persistent challenge is that clean cooking remains a “poor person’s problem.” When short-term incentives have prompted business people to try to build a market for improved cookstoves, their efforts have often foundered. The genuinely safer advanced cookstoves were not affordable, or not adapted to local needs, or not locally-made and thus in short supply. Read the entire article and get links to the papers here.