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Could clean cookstoves save lives and help clear the air?

Imagine if the global distribution of one household necessity could save lives, enable livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change. With Hillary Clinton’s recent announcement of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, international leaders, organizations, governments and corporations are joining forces to offer a solution to the problem of smoke emissions from cooking devices in developing countries. This smoke also releases carbon dioxide, methane and black carbon into the atmosphere. Each of these components has been identified as a contributing factor to climate change.

Need to Know’s Alison Stewart learned more about the $60 million initiative from Jacob Moss, a senior adviser in the office of air and radiation at the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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  • Michael Wilson

    It would be nice if they created a stove buy-back system from the US to benefit the rest of the world. In some places like Alaska there are programs for people to turn in their old wood stoves, and buy new more efficient models. Old wood stoves can be used for heating and cooking with a number of fuels (wood, coal, charcoal, etc…). These old stoves are commonly still more efficient than many stoves in the third world, and can be modified to greatly increase their efficiency.

    So they should create a system to buy back American’s old wood and coal stoves, have them modified and/or refurbished, and distributed or sold to people in the third world. A partnership with financial donors, Engineers Without Borders (, the Peace Corp (, NGOs, governments, and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves would be a good fit.

    You could have engineers here in america become members of EWB, and do design modification on old stoves that come in, and have american industry do the required changes before shipping over seas. A few incentives for businesses to assist and you could benefit many.

    I think that would be a good program to also consider implementing.

  • Speed9500

    Please explain how pulling carbon from deep in the ground and releasing it in the atmosphere (coal, gas, methane, petroleum products) has a lower carbon cost than burning plant products (carbon neutral since those plants have grown by pulling carbon in from the air, and would release the same amount of carbon if left to decay), And why do these new stoves need to be “marketed” (I hear “profit”, “credit”, “corporation”, “planned obsolescence”…) instead of education, recycling, using free materials (such as mud). Is the interest purely in the environment? Or is it in creating new profit streams? Sounds like the first step in the conversion to a consumer society.

  • Guest

    Please see the Berkeley-Darfur Stoves Project. Why does this group feel like this issue needs a new solution? Imagine if they had used their $60 million to join forces with a project that has already solved this? Yet again, someone doesn’t want to support a perfectly workable solution that they didn’t invent.