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Using improved cook-stoves to fight climate change

cookstove-353x212Fuelwood and charcoal remain the most important sources of energy among both the rural and urban poor in the developing world, but their unsustainable use can quickly degrade the environment. But one Kenyan scholar has shown the way to mitigate this impact.

Before he died, the late Dr Maxwell Kinyanjui had invented a firewood burner, which by using dry wood, produces charcoal to be used for making another meal, another time.

And now, with just Sh1200 ($15), those in Kenya who can access the improved cook-stoves have the opportunity to ‘recycle’ fuelwood, by using it first as firewood, and later as charcoal.

Kinyanjui believed in maximising the use of energy. “We cannot do away with charcoal and firewood in many African countries because we do not have a perfect and affordable alternative,” he used to say.“All we need is to encourage people to engage in charcoal farming, and use the wood more sustainably,” said the man who had planted acacia trees on over 1000 acres, specifically for charcoal production.

Experts at the forthcoming World Congress on Agroforestry will discuss modalities on how dissemination of such energy saving cook-stoves can attract climate financing.

During the congress, Olivia Freeman and Hisham Zerriffi will examine the potential of carbon financing as a tool for promoting cook-stove dissemination,with reference to a research that looks at the impacts of carbon finance on organizational activities and business models using India as a case study.

In their discussion, the two researchers will explore different organizational approaches employed, perceptions around carbon financing from both those choosing to and not to apply for carbon certification, and identification of the opportunities, challenges and unknowns surrounding carbon finance for cook-stove dissemination.

Switching to energy-saving stoves will greatly reduce the demand for biomass fuel because, according to the researchers, 90 percent of the rural population and 31 percent of the urban population still primarily depend on solid fuels for cooking. At the same time, the improved stoves will directly improve livelihoods and help address climate change.

By Isaiah Esipisu

Edited by D. Ouya

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