Category Archives: Blog

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 sbartlett@cleancookstoves.org.

 

 

Jonathon Porritt: Why it’s important to offset unavoidable emissions

Jonathon PorrittI’m in something of a personal quandary. My new book, ‘The World We Made’ is out this autumn and, as part of my outreach and promotion for that, I’ll be doing a lot of international travel. I won’t be the first environmentalist to be criticised for this, and I have no doubt that I won’t be the last.

Beyond that, Forum for the Future is growing, and it’s growing globally. We opened an office in New York back in 2010, which is now thriving. We’ve recently started working out of Mumbai and have just recruited the first staff member for our Singapore office. All hugely exciting. All hugely carbon intensive.

Both this international expansion and the global promotion of my book are strategic decisions that we believe will catalyse change. But they raise a number of questions.

What criteria need to be fulfilled before deciding to get on a plane? How can we measure whether the impact we have in a meeting, at a workshop or a conference justifies the means of travel there? What role does my book have to play in creating a world we all want to be a part of?

As you would expect, we do have a checklist for these decisions, including only flying when the equivalent train journey takes more than six hours and travelling with the most carbon-efficient airline.

Once this exhaustive list has been worked through, and we’re convinced that the journey is justified, we will travel. And, as we would recommend to any of our partners, we then offset that travel.

For many years now Forum for the Future’s offset partner of choice has been climate and development experts ClimateCare. Not only do they offset our business travel, but also our operational emissions – because we have to acknowledge that we, as an organisation, have an impact.

This emissions offsetting is a key part of the ambitious strategies of the likes of Kingfisher, Interface or M&S and their net positive / de-coupling / zeronaut ambitions (which you can read more about in this Green Futures article). Once every effort has been taken to reduce or avoid emissions, offsetting then has a crucial role to play in helping organisations give more to our environment than they take out.

It’s for these reasons that I continue to be an ardent supporter of offsetting done well (if it’s not done well with the right kind of offset provider as part of a radical carbon reduction strategy, it’s not worth doing). But far too many environmentalists fail to distinguish between “done well” and “better not done” – which is hugely unhelpful.

It’s part of our role at Forum for the Future to help people understand that crucial difference.

Enter our prize draw to win a signed copy of Jonathon’s new book – The World We Made.

 

[zilla_share]

Related links:

–       Read more about ClimateCare’s climate and development approach here

–       Read the Green Futures Special Edition ‘Offset Postive’ here.

 

Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.  Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK’s leading sustainable development charity.  In addition, Porritt is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme which runs Seminars for senior executives around the world.  He is a Non-Executive of Willmott Dixon Holdings, a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as Patron, Chair or Special Adviser.

He was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a Trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005), a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency (1999-2008), a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water (2005-2012).

He stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years providing high-level advice to Government Ministers.

Jonathon was installed as the Chancellor of Keele University in February 2012. He is also Visiting Professor at Loughborough University.

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection.