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Saving millions of lives and protecting our climate through clean cooking options
Date:11/28/2011

For many people in the developing world getting enough food to eat is a persistent challenge. However the challenge does not stop there. A new issue of the international journal Energy Policy details the human and environmental cost of cooking food using the only energy source available to many people, woody biomass.

The Special Issue explores the type of decision frameworks that are needed to guide policy development for clean cooking fuels and to ensure that the provision of clean energy becomes a central component of sustainable development. Additionally, it presents a research agenda and an action agenda to facilitate the development and adoption of cleaner cooking fuels and technologies and analyses why past programs to improve access to clean cooking fuels have succeeded or failed.

Universal access to clean energy is a stated goal of the United Nations and is a key entry point for reducing emissions of black carbon and other particulates - known to negatively impact the climate. The scale of the issue and opportunity to minimize emissions through adoption of clean cooking fuels and stoves was highlighted in a new report from the UN Environment Program released Friday 25th November and will be a focus of discussions at the UNFCCC climate talks commencing in Durban today.

While the use of biomass for cooking is in itself not a cause for concern, it is the unsustainable harvesting and dirty and inefficient burning of the wood that inhibits social and economic development, harms the environment, and takes a significant toll on human health. Latest estimates from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) indicate that in 2005, over 2 million people, mostly woman and children, died prematurely due to household air pollution soot and other particles that are emitted when biomass is burned indoors in poorly ventilated environments.

"The collection and burning of woody biomass to cook food has con
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Contact: Leane Regan
regan@iiasa.ac.at
43-066-444-30368
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Source:Eurekalert

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