Future of Cook stoves in India: Review and recommendations, 2014.

Authors: Moreshwar Hude, et al. TERRE Policy Centre, Pune

This paper, developed by an author and the guide who themselves were the users of various types of cooking stoves in their childhood and who have interacted with the present users, technology suppliers and decision makers, assesses the situation in respect of the cooking stoves, identifies the barriers-many of which are overlooked by zealous technocrats- and makes recommendation to overcome those barriers.

The Effect of Marketing Messages, Liquidity Constraints, and Household Bargaining on Willingness to Pay for a Nontraditional Cookstove, 2014.

Authors: Beltramo, Theresa, Impact Carbon; Levine, David I, UC Berkeley; Blalock, Garrick, Cornell University

Lack of product information, liquidity constraints, and women’s limited intrahousehold bargaining power can all slow adoption of new technologies that primarily benefit women and children in poor nations. One such technology, an improved cookstove, can replace inefficient traditional biomass cookstoves that cause significant environmental degradation and some four millions deaths a year. This experiment conducted in rural Uganda estimates willingness to pay for cookstove technologies using Vickrey second-price auctions. Using a randomized controlled trial we first test whether marketing messages which address specific information barriers increase willingness to pay.

Second, a within subjects comparison tests the effect of time payments on willingness to pay. To assess intrahousehold decision-making a correlational study examines the effect of being female, indicators of intra-household decision making, and earning a stable income on willingness to pay. Information campaigns have no large effect on willingness to pay. Neither marketing message- ‘the stove can improve health’ or ‘the stove can save time and money’-consistently increased willingness to pay. We find evidence that consumers in rural Uganda are liquidity constrained. Including time payments raised willingness to pay for a nontraditional cookstove by 41%. Each additional asset owned increased willingness to pay by 10%. Having a stable income increased willingness to pay by 8-10% for both men and women participants, though no effect on willingness to pay is observed of having a stable income for married women.

There is a large negative effect on willingness to pay if participant is female- on average men are willing to pay 21-23% more than women. Efforts to increase willingness to pay for nontraditional cookstoves which improve health and abate environmental harm may be more successful by designing and disseminating nontraditional cookstoves with features valued more highly by men and addressing liquidity constraints, instead of repeating marketing messages related to the cookstoves’ health and private economic benefits.

Clean cookstoves, windmills improve health while reducing emissions – study | Source/complete article: by Samuel Mintz and Laurie Goering, Reuters, Mar 11, 2014 |

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Clean cookstoves, power-generating windmills and reforestation projects deliver social benefits far beyond reductions in climate-changing carbon emissions, an internal study of projects certified by The Gold Standard has found.

In a look at 109 clean energy and forest projects around the world, all with emissions reductions measured and certified under the The Gold Standard label, economists found that cookstove projects produced $84 million a year in health benefits, in part by reducing exposure to coal, charcoal or firewood smoke, the Gold Standard Foundation said in a press release.

In addition, families participating in the projects saved $243 million annually on coal or firewood purchases, or the equivalent in time spent collecting firewood.

Windmill projects, similarly, saved countries that have installed them $100 million a year on fossil fuel imports, and created $12 million in salaries annually, the foundation said.

Altogether, the additional benefits beyond carbon emissions reductions, including ecosystem services and local employment, added up to more than a billion dollars over the life of the 109 projects, all of which are now completed, the study said.

Gold Standard certified carbon credits, launched in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund and partners, are sold to individuals, companies and governments wanting to offset their own carbon emissions by paying to reduce emissions elsewhere.

The new look at environmental and social benefits from carbon reductions suggests that buyers of credits from everything from bio-digesters in China to water filters in Honduras are getting more for their money than reductions in climate-changing emissions.

“By being able to value critical outcomes, like improvements in health and employment, carbon credit buyers, funders and policy makers can better understand the big picture of what carbon finance can do when it’s implemented through the rigorous framework and auditing requirements of The Gold Standard,” said Adrian Rimmer, the CEO of The Gold Standard, in a press release.

The Gold Standard certifies nearly 1,000 projects around the world by a wide range of companies and organizations, including J.P. Morgan and a variety of non-profit organizations.


Twice as bad: new estimates for mortality from air pollution. Lancet Respiratory Medicine, April 2014.

Talha Khan Burki

WHO have upwardly revised their figures for the global mortality caused by air pollution. They estimate that about 7 million deaths occurred as a result of indoor and outdoor air pollution in 2012. The new figures take into account improvements in the methods and data collection used in previous years and honed techniques for measuring exposure-response.Indoor air pollution accounted for 4·3 million deaths in 2012, largely in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions. Respiratory illness made up 40% of the death toll. It all comes down to smoke inhalation, either from open fires or inefficient cook stoves. Children younger than 5 years are particularly vulnerable: 2012 saw over 500 000 deaths from acute lower respiratory infections related to indoor air pollution in this age bracket.

Outdoor air pollution accounted for 3·7 million deaths in 2012, concentrated in low-income and middle-income countries; 389 000 of these deaths were from chronic obstructive respiratory disease, and 227 000 from lung cancer (emissions from diesel engines are particularly culpable in this). Since communities are exposed to several types of pollution, WHO estimated the total number of pollution-related deaths at 7 million (rather than 8 million).Tackling outdoor pollution requires a wide ranging approach. “We would like to have more interventions on healthy urban planning”, affirmed WHO’s Maria Neira. She notes that the transport sector has provided much evidence on environmentally friendly and sustainable systems. Clearly, industry has a large part to play, and there are plenty of proven interventions, such as fitting flue-gas desulphurisation systems to coal-burning power plants, that can help ameliorate matters.

Later this year, WHO will launch its guidelines on indoor air quality. About 3 billion people live in households that rely on solid fuel for cooking and heating. “They burn what is available”, explains Jon Ayres from Birmingham University. Rolling out an efficient means of combusting this fuel, as envisaged by the UN Foundation’s Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves, is crucial. But simply ensuring a supply of such stoves will not suffice—when they break down, users tend to return to their previous habits. Ayres emphasises the importance of co-opting local entrepreneurs to produce inexpensive, good-quality stoves and subsequently provide maintenance services. “It’s a big job—we have to enable great swathes of people to become the users, producers, and maintainers of these better stoves”, he told The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Current debates and future research needs in the clean cookstove sector. Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume 20, June 2014, Pages 49–57.

Authors: Gregory L. Simona, et al.


• Despite considerable growth in the clean cookstove sector, many debates remain.
• Vetting of stove performance and appeal prior to scale-up is needed in sector.
• Given corollary benefits, local production of effective stoves should be encouraged.
• There is a need to analyze the suitability of diverse subsidies in various settings.
• Decline in carbon credit prices has increased the need to diversify investment types.

The international clean cookstove sector has undergone considerable growth over the past decade. We use this critical juncture – where program priorities and strategies are formalized and converted into institutional norms and practices – to review current debates and areas for future research. We focus our review on four important areas and suggest industry participants expand and refine efforts to (i) balance technical stove performance with implementation needs and stove user compatibility; (ii) understand the trade-offs associated with local and imported production methods; (iii) determine a suitable role for direct subsidies for purchasing stoves and indirect subsidies for research, institutional development and distribution of stoves; and (iv) develop an appropriate finance strategy to support dissemination amidst carbon market uncertainties. Given the complex and interdisciplinary nature of the clean cookstove sector, we hope our appraisal of these four issues will inform innovation and invite new insights.

Comment: Climate change and health: on the latest IPCC report. Lancet, April 2014.

Authors: Alistair Woodward, et al.

The health co-benefi ts of action on climate change could be very large. For instance, a reduction of emissions of methane and black carbon might directly prevent 2·0–2·5 million deaths per year worldwide, according to one estimate. When converted into economic terms, the health gains could off set much of the early cost for mitigation of climate change.



A cross-sectional study of determinants of indoor environmental exposures in households with and without chronic exposure to biomass fuel smoke. Env Health, March 2014.

Authors: Suzanne L Pollard, et al.

Background – Burning biomass fuels indoors for cooking is associated with high concentrations of particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO). More efficient biomass-burning stoves and chimneys for ventilation have been proposed as solutions to reduce indoor pollution. We sought to quantify indoor PM and CO exposures in urban and rural households and determine factors associated with higher exposures. A secondary objective was to identify chronic vs. acute changes in cardiopulmonary biomarkers associated with exposure to biomass smoke.

Methods – We conducted a census survey followed by a cross-sectional study of indoor environmental exposures and cardiopulmonary biomarkers in the main household cook in Puno, Peru. We measured 24-hour indoor PM and CO concentrations in 86 households. We also measured PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations gravimetrically for 24 hours in urban households and during cook times in rural households, and generated a calibration equation using PM2.5 measurements.

Results – In a census of 4903 households, 93% vs. 16% of rural vs. urban households used an open-fire stove; 22% of rural households had a homemade chimney; and <3% of rural households participated in a national program encouraging installation of a chimney. Median 24-hour indoor PM2.5 and CO concentrations were 130 vs. 22 µg/m3 and 5.8 vs. 0.4 ppm (all p<0.001) in rural vs. urban households. Having a chimney did not significantly reduce median concentrations in 24-hour indoor PM2.5 (119 vs. 137 µg/m3; p=0.40) or CO (4.6 vs. 7.2 ppm; p=0.23) among rural households with and without chimneys. Having a chimney did not significantly reduce median cook-time PM2.5 (360 vs. 298 µg/m3, p=0.45) or cook-time CO concentrations (15.2 vs. 9.4 ppm, p=0.23). Having a thatched roof (p=0.007) and hours spent cooking (p=0.02) were associated with higher 24-hour average PM concentrations. Rural participants had higher median exhaled CO (10 vs. 6 ppm; p=0.01) and exhaled carboxyhemoglobin (1.6% vs. 1.0%; p=0.04) than urban participants.

Conclusions Indoor air concentrations associated with biomass smoke were six-fold greater in rural vs. urban households. Having a homemade chimney did not reduce environmental exposures significantly. Measures of exhaled CO provide useful cardiopulmonary biomarkers for chronic exposure to biomass smoke.

An Integrated Risk Function for Estimating the Global Burden of Disease Attributable to Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb 2014.

Authors: Richard T. Burnett, et al.

Background: Estimating the burden of disease attributable to long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air requires knowledge of both the shape and magnitude of the relative risk function (RR). However, there is inadequate direct evidence to identify the shape of the mortality RR functions at high ambient concentrations observed in many places in the world.

Objective: Develop relative risk (RR) functions over entire global exposure range for causes of mortality in adults: ischemic heart disease (IHD), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer (LC). In addition, develop RR functions for the incidence of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) that can be used to estimate mortality and lost-years of healthy life in children less than 5 years old.

Methods: An Integrated Exposure-Response (IER) model was fit by integrating available RR information from studies of ambient air pollution (AAP), second hand tobacco smoke (SHS), household solid cooking fuel (HAP) and active smoking (AS). AS exposures were converted to estimated annual PM2.5 exposure equivalents using inhaled doses of particle mass. Population attributable fractions (PAF) were derived for every country based on estimated world-wide ambient PM2.5 concentrations.

Results: The IER model was a superior predictor of RR compared to seven other forms previously used in burden assessments. The PAF (%) attributable to AAP exposure varied among countries from: 2-41 for IHD, 1-43 for stroke, < 1-21 for COPD, < 1-25 for LC, and < 1-38 for ALRI.

Conclusions: We developed a fine particulate mass-based RR model that covered the global range of exposure by integrating RR information from different combustion types that generate emissions of particulate matter. The model can be updated as new RR information becomes available.

Impact of neighborhood biomass cooking patterns on episodic high indoor particulate matter concentrations in clean fuel homes in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Indoor Air, April 2014.

Authors: H. Salje et al.

Exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) from the burning of biomass is associated with increased risk of respiratory disease. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, households that do not burn biomass often still experience high concentrations of PM2.5, but the sources remain unexplained. We characterized the diurnal variation in the concentrations of PM2.5 in 257 households and compared the risk of experiencing high PM2.5 concentrations in biomass and non-biomass users. Indoor PM2.5 concentrations were estimated every minute over 24 h once a month from April 2009 through April 2010.

We found that households that used gas or electricity experienced PM2.5 concentrations exceeding 1000 μg/m3 for a mean of 35 min within a 24-h period compared with 66 min in biomass-burning households. In both households that used biomass and those that had no obvious source of particulate matter, the probability of PM2.5 exceeding 1000 μg/m3 were highest during distinct morning, afternoon, and evening periods. In such densely populated settings, indoor pollution in clean fuel households may be determined by biomass used by neighbors, with the highest risk of exposure occurring during cooking periods. Community interventions to reduce biomass use may reduce exposure to high concentrations of PM2.5 in both biomass and non-biomass using households.

Emissions and Climate-Relevant Optical Properties of Pollutants Emitted from a Three-Stone Fire and the Berkeley-Darfur Stove Tested under Laboratory Conditions. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Mar 31.

Authors: Preble CV, Hadley OL, Gadgil A, Kirchstetter T.

Abstract – Cooking in the developing world generates pollutants that endanger the health of billions of people and contribute to climate change. This study quantified pollutants emitted when cooking with a three-stone fire (TSF) and the Berkeley-Darfur Stove (BDS), the latter of which encloses the fire to increase fuel efficiency. The stoves were operated at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory testing facility with a narrow range of fuel feed rates to minimize performance variability. Fast (1 Hz) measurements of pollutants enabled discrimination between the stoves’ emission profiles and development of woodsmoke-specific calibrations for the aethalometer (black carbon, BC) and DustTrak (fine particles, PM2.5). The BDS used 65 ± 5% (average ± 95% confidence interval) of the wood consumed by the TSF and emitted 50 ± 5% of the carbon monoxide emitted by the TSF for an equivalent cooking task, indicating its higher thermal efficiency and a modest improvement in combustion efficiency. The BDS reduced total PM2.5 by 50% but achieved only a 30% reduction in BC emissions.

The BDS-emitted particles were, therefore, more sunlight-absorbing: the average single scattering albedo at 532 nm was 0.36 for the BDS and 0.47 for the TSF. Mass emissions of PM2.5 and BC varied more than emissions of CO and wood consumption over all tests, and emissions and wood consumption varied more among TSF than BDS tests. The international community and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves have proposed performance targets for the highest tier of cookstoves that correspond to greater reductions in fuel consumption and PM2.5 emissions of approximately 65% and 95%, respectively, compared to baseline cooking with the TSF. Given the larger decrease in BC than carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for stoves that achieve this stretch goal and BC’s extremely high global warming potential, the short term climate change mitigation from avoided BC emissions could exceed that from avoided CO2 emissions.