Shell has pledged $6m (£3.9m) over three years to support an initiative to prevent deaths and cut greenhouse gas emissions caused by smoke from traditional cooking stoves.
The World Health Organization estimates that toxic fumes from open fires and traditional burning stoves – the main tool for heating and cooking in the developing world – cause 1.9 million premature deaths from respiratory diseases every year. They also create CO2 emissions.
According to Shell, the internationally recognised most viable solution is to encourage cleaner cooking stoves, which require significantly less fuel and reduce emissions.
‘Indoor air pollution is one of the most significant energy poverty issues facing the developing world,’ said Peter Voser, chief executive of Shell. ‘With three billion people worldwide using open fires or traditional stoves in their homes, this initiative is a step forward in making a huge and tangible difference to their health and environment. So I would urge others to support this initiative – a clean-burning cooking stove for each home isn’t that much to ask.’
Shell’s donation supports the newly launched Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), a public-private initiative to support the large-scale use of clean burning domestic stoves in developing countries.
Launched by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, GACC aims for an additional 100 million homes, roughly 20 per cent of the affected population, to have an efficient cooking stove by 2020.
According to Climate Care, the annual CO2 reduction for each energy-efficient stove is approximately 1.5 tonnes. The cumulative effect of 100 million new stoves would be approximately 150 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
Manufacturers of clean stoves currently face difficulties getting their products to the people who need them and, with no internationally recognised global standards, more needs to be done to let people and communities know about the dangers they are facing.
Shell aims to help tackle these issues by helping to develop global standards and stove testing protocols, to ensure customers get a quality product that has been approved and tested on the ground in each local market; and by enhancing routes to market, tackling the issues of affordability and accessibility.
Similarly, the company will assist with the development of financing mechanisms that would enable manufacturers to potentially benefit from carbon credits and raise awareness of the health and environmental risks caused by the smoke from inefficient cooking stoves.
An all-in-one cooker, fridge and generator could have a huge impact on the lives of people in the world’s poorest communities. Click here to read more.