Bond notes links among stoves, global warming, deaths
Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a new public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation, according to a story on the Environment News Service.
"Today we can finally envision a future in which open fires and dirty stoves are replaced by clean, efficient and affordable stoves and fuels all over the world—stoves that still cost as little as $25," Clinton said. "By upgrading these dirty stoves, millions of lives could be saved and improved. Clean stoves could be as transformative as bed nets or vaccines."
“'This is an exciting initiative for health, air quality, and climate reasons,” said CEE Associate Professor Tami Bond, whose research includes performing emission inventories and field measurements of soot-producing cookstoves and diesel engines around the world. The fine particles generated by burning biomass materials absorb light and turn it into heat, whether they are suspended in air or darkening and melting snow. Reducing the amount of black carbon in the atmosphere is one of several key strategies promoted by researchers for reducing global warming.
“Diesel engines emit about one-quarter of global black carbon," Bond said. "Another quarter comes from primitive household cookers used in less-developed countries. Cleaner cooking would reduce indoor air pollution, which is responsible for 1.6 million annual deaths, primarily of women and young children. The good news is that we can shut off black carbon’s warming today, like flipping a switch. We can’t ignore our long-term problem, greenhouse gases, which will stay around for decades. But black carbon is washed out of the atmosphere within a couple of weeks, and its snow warming lasts about a season. If we stop emitting, this warming will stop, too.
“History shows that clean air, not economic growth, drives black carbon emissions,” Bond said. “Emissions per kilogram of coal burned have decreased by 100-1000 times in the last 100 years. This happens when societies demand cleaner environments.”