Thanks to Anthropocene:
by Emma Bryce
What is the link between cooking and climate change? Three billion people use traditional cookstoves to make their daily meals, burning fuel on an open flame and inadvertently releasing pollutants into the air—so this has become an increasingly pressing question. But a new study published in Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences finds that changes to this cooking regime at the country level could substantially undercut the effects of climate change.
In recent years, we’ve become aware of the health impacts of cookstoves: by burning fuels ranging from cow dung to coal and wood, cookstoves both contaminate people’s homes and pollute the outside air, causing ailments like lung cancer and heart disease that kill 4.3 million people prematurely every year. But environmentally-speaking, the impact of their emissions has been harder to pin down.
Cookstoves are known to produce an estimated 2.3 percent of global CO2 emissions. They also expel other impactful greenhouse gases like methane, as well as aerosols, a class of substances that includes black carbon (otherwise known as soot)…
…Yet, can we really phase out cookstoves in 20 years? The study authors note that eradication in this timeframe is a tall order, what with so many people dependent on this mode of food preparation.Nevertheless, with the spread of improvements and replacements for traditional cookstoves—like solar-powered cookers, cleaner-burning fuels, and solar energy—the research does provide a necessary roadmap for where to leverage these technologies, for the greater global good.
Source: Lacey et al. “Transient climate and ambient health impacts due to national solid fuel cookstove emissions” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017.
Read the whole summary here.