Clean Cooking Featured Prominently in COP Solutions for Addressing Climate Change
The Alliance and partners actively engaged with the international community on the important climate mitigation impact of strong clean cooking programs and enabling policies during the recent United Nations climate change conference in Paris, known as COP21. To strengthen collaboration, the Alliance co-hosted a number of events, presented our work at various sessions, and met with prospective and current partners to discuss the role that clean cooking can play as a mitigation strategy.
The tone of COP21 was positive, but there was also a sense of urgency as people expressed a strong interest in solutions to enable sustainable development and a healthier climate.
Clean cooking was widely touted as one such solution that is already contributing to climate change mitigation and environmental sustainability, while also providing energy, health, and empowerment gains that particularly benefit girls and women. From the Alliance’s many interactions over the course of the week, it was clear that individuals, countries, and organizations, are interested in learning more about how best to establish clean cooking programs that mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants.
MOU signing with Shenzhen General Chamber of Commerce
The Alliance signed a Memo of Understanding with the Shenzhen General Chamber of Commerce under the guidance of Alliance Leadership Council member Wang Shi, chairman of the Chinese real estate company Vanke. He further committed to bring in leading Chinese investors and business people to the Alliance’s newly formed China Council and to aid market development and greater adoption of cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels in China in the next year. With the launch of the Alliance China Council, policy intervention and resource mobilization will be tailored to improve China’s domestic goals, and also to support China’s planned international leadership in clean cookstoves through South-South cooperation. The Council will provide strategic and financial support to Alliance’s activities and programs in China. Other distinguished speakers at the event included: Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, Xie Zhenhua, Andrew Steer of World Resources Institute, and Frank Ning of COFCO Corporation.
Evaluating the Health and Climate Co-Benefits of Clean Cooking Solutions
The Alliance and French research institute Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme convened a one day workshop in Paris during COP21 of over 60 leading climate and health scientists, practitioners, donors, and investors, to exchange and share information on the most recent research and knowledge about the benefits of scaling up clean cooking, as well as financing mechanisms available for cookstove programs. Scientists highlighted the contribution of household combustion of solid fuels on ambient air pollution and the important role that clean cookstoves can play in benefiting public health. New research was also presented that showed the clear connection between warming in the Arctic and domestic fuel use in Asia, particularly due to emissions of black carbon and ozone precursors. Representatives from the public and private sector – including Norway, Sweden, the Green Climate Fund, and BIX Fund – highlighted opportunities to attract buyers interested in reducing black carbon emissions, and to ensure health benefits in order to spur clean cooking solutions at scale.
A clear message that was echoed throughout the day was that the evidence base clearly supports the case for scaling up clean cooking solutions for the three billion people still cooking over open fires. Indeed, clean cookstoves and fuels offer a tangible solution that will not only help alleviate poverty and improve health, but can also play an important role in mitigating climate change.
Sustainable Energy for All and the Climate-Health-Development Nexus
The Alliance co-hosted an official side event with the United Nations Foundation, HIELO International, and the Lancet Climate and Health Commission. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Alliance Leadership Council member, gave the keynote, remarking on how clean cooking is critical to the overall efforts of addressing climate change, while also addressing the needs of the poor and vulnerable communities.
Gender Day Celebrated at COP21
The Alliance participated as a speaker at a UNEP breakfast with Women Environment Ministers hosted by UNEP featuring UNEP executive director Achim Steiner, Alliance LC member and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, former president of Finland Tarja Halonen, and Ugandan State Minister for Environment Flavia Nabugere Munaaba, and a host of other experts. The Alliance’s Leslie Cordes, Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships, gave a presentation regarding the work being done by the Alliance to integrate women into the clean cooking markets, to ensure that clean cooking addresses the needs of women, and efforts to help enable women drive improved environmental outcomes.
VIDEO: #EarthToParis Video Interview with Radha Muthiah, via Mashable | Facebook