Global efforts launched for more efficient cook stoves
New Delhi | Monday, Sep 27 2010 IST
With researches showing that inefficient cooking stoves were responsible for approximately 25 per cent of emissions of black carbon, and indoor emissions contributed to thousands of premature deaths annually, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has joined efforts to boost efficiency of around three billion cook stoves across Africa, Asia and Latin America. According to research under the UNEP-supported Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) project, black carbon could now be responsible for a significant level of current climate change. The UNEP has associated itself with the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves launched last week in New York during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, as part of the Global Clinton Initiative and spear headed by the UN Foundation. The initiative can also make a contribution to reduce deforestation by curbing the large quantities of wood and other biomass used to make charcoal or by households switching to alternative fuels including cookers powered by solar energy. Emissions of black carbon may also be accelerating melting rates of glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, with the dark particles absorbing sunlight and raising ice temperatures. In addition, black carbon - a key component of brown clouds in some parts of the world - is contributing to dimming and reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the ground in polluted parts of the globe. For example, some major cities in Asia may be up to 25 per cent dimmer or darker than they were half a century ago. Reductions in visible light may also be harming agriculture - again with implications for poverty and combating hunger under the MDGs. UNEP's Project ABC, which is led by Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution in La Jolla, California, and included researchers from countries such as India and China, has established a network of ABC observatories throughout the Asia-Pacific region that are now operated by national scientists.
Plans are underway to extend the network into Africa and beyond. The UNEP is already supporting black carbon and cook stoves demonstration project called ''Project Surya'' in rural areas of India. Surya aims to provide sustainable, effective and incentive-based action plans as well as infrastructure and technologies to switch to cleaner technologies such as efficient cooking stoves. A pilot phase of Project Surya has been implemented in a rural village in India with 500 households and a population of 2,500 people. The pilot phase, with Professor Ramanathan as the Principal Investigator and The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) as the implementing agency, tested several available commercial cook stoves for climate and health benefits and fuel efficiency using specially designed cell phones, capable of collecting and uploading data on pollutant exposure and cooking time periods, wireless technology and the establishment of indoor air quality sensors as well as an outdoor climate monitoring tower. The pilot phase also included gathering baseline socio-economic data, and assessing different technological options for cooking as a way to evaluate the acceptance of the stoves by the public. With the successful implementation of the pilot phase, Surya is embarking on the demonstration phase, which will last for two years and will involve two to three rural areas, each with a population of 15,000 people spread from north to south India. Pilot phases of Surya are also being developed for other developing countries such as Bhutan, Nepal and Kenya. It is hoped to link the declining emissions of black carbon, both indoor and outdoor, with the reduced impact on the regional climate as detected by the monitoring tower and satellites taking the pollution levels of the atmosphere.
-- (UNI) -- 27DI11.xml
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