A Chinese National Improved Stove Program for the 21st Century to Promote Rural, Social, and Economic Development
Although not remembered by many today, China probably achieved the largest
improvement in energy efficiency in world history in terms of the population affected in
one program. The National Improved Stove Program (NISP) and its provincial
counterparts were initiated in the early 1980s and are credited with introducing nearly
200 million improved stoves by the late-1990s. Focusing on increasing biomass fuel
efficiency to assist rural welfare, it extended fuel availability to villages and helped
protect forests. Secondary emphasis was on reduction of household smoke exposures
through use of chimneys.
Although an immense accomplishment, the needs of the 21st century in China now call
for another major effort, a NISP-II to bring today’s modern stove technology to China’s
rural households that still contain three-fifths of its people. This is because there are
major changes in our understanding of the impacts of traditional biomass and coal fuel
use and in the expectations for social development in China that have changed the
landscape for improved biomass stove programmes.