From Kalinga Seneviratne
In the Asia-Pacific region, which is home to around 60 percent of the world’s population, around 1.6 billion people rely mainly on open fires or simple ovens for their daily cooking that use kerosene, coal or biomass such as wood, dung and agricultural residues needs that have an impact on climate change and health threats are operated.
“The burning of biomass in these inefficient stoves is contributing to the warming of the atmosphere and the destruction of forests, while inhaling the emitted particulate matter causes a number of serious health effects,” says Olivia Baldy, Energy Access Consultant at Bangkok-based UNESCAP United Nations Social Commission). for Asia and the Pacific). “In 2016, poor indoor air quality contributed to an estimated 2.2 million premature deaths in Asia and the Pacific,” she added.
As the region recovers from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, making clean cooking fuels affordable for low-income families will be a major challenge in order to ensure access to energy necessary to achieve Goal 7 for sustainable development is vital.
As rural and urban poor populations increasingly gain access to electricity and solar energy technologies serve as fuel alternatives to cooking, the challenge for governments and the nonprofit sector is to provide the funding to help the poor both reduce their cooking Fuel costs and carbon footprint.
However, while clean cooking solutions have the potential to generate a variety of social, economic and environmental benefits, the clean cooking sector remains severely underfunded.
An Energy Finance Landscape 2020 report by the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) argues that the Covid-19 pandemic should be seen as a wake-up call to accelerate attempts to achieve SDG 7, which provides access to affordable, reliable, sustainable , and modern energy for everyone by 2030.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the serious impact a lack of reliable energy access can have on health systems, water and sanitation, clean kitchens, and communication and IT services,” the report said, adding that despite significant advances over the past decade, more than 789 million people across the region have lost electricity and access to clean cooking.
The CPI report points out that the region, with the exception of Bangladesh, lacks investment to provide the poor with access to clean cooking technology, arguing that a “green recovery” is essential for developing sustainable models for economic recovery is crucial.
With the upcoming negotiations under the “Paris Agreement” on national CO2 markets, this could be a source of funding for providing clean cooking alternatives for the poor with solar and “green” electricity. According to the CPI report, only $ 21 million of investments were made under this facility in 2018.
For rural households that are connected to mini-grid and solar home systems, the costs of cooking with electricity are now in the cost-competitive range of other cooking alternatives, according to a report by the World Future Council and Hivos from 2019. In addition to falling costs in electric cooking appliances, potential synergies between electrification and clean cooking are significant and not yet fully explored, it said. But adds that, for example, the Nepalese Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation stated last year that the government wants to achieve the goal of an “electric stove in every home” by strengthening the country’s distribution networks and is discussing the possible adjustment of electricity tariffs, to favor electric cooking.
Bangladesh imports about 60 percent of its LPG needs and offers substantial subsidies for LPG bottles and fuel. The CPI report suggests that nearly 74 percent of the rural population relies primarily on biomass fuels for cooking, including straw, peels, bran, jute sticks, wood, and bamboo; while over 95 percent of the country’s population and more than 80 percent of the country’s rural population have electricity that can be used to build a supply chain for efficient electricity-based cooking solutions in the most remote areas.
Between 2013 and 2017, the government of Bangladesh, through a World Bank program, helped poor households install improved cooking stoves (ICS) in 1 million households, and it was expected to increase to 5 million by the end of 2021. CPI believes that there is a need to constantly reshape the existing policy and funding framework if Bangladesh is to achieve zero biomass use by 2030.
The Indian “Surya Project” aims to replace the highly polluting cooking stoves used in India’s rural households with clean energy stoves with funds from CO2 compensation programs. In its first phase, the Surya project targets three rural areas in the Himalayas, Indo-Gangetic Plains, Andra region in South India to enable 5,000 households in each region to switch to cleaner combustion technologies such as solar cookers and other efficient stove technologies.
They are introducing solar parabolic cookers that are about 1.4 m in diameter, popularly known as the SK14, which cost about $ 100. They are advertised to cook rice for a family of up to ten people in about 30 minutes. They also use the cell phone to measure climate mitigation and health outcomes.
They work with partners at UCLA’s Center for Embedded Network Sensing and Nexleaf Analysis in the US to bring together climate scientists, epidemiologists, computer scientists, energy technologists, economists and rural economic development experts to find solutions to three of the most pressing challenges facing Asia Faced Today – Climate Change, Public Health, and Economic Development.
“While more efficient technologies cut cooking costs significantly, in many cases consumers cannot afford the upfront investment required to move to cleaner, but often more expensive, alternatives. In the midst of the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, affordability is becoming increasingly difficult as many households are falling back into poverty, ”warns Baldy in an article published in UNESCAP’s monthly newsletter. “That means that without financial support, more low-income households may not be able to pay for clean cooking solutions.”