Stoking up a cookstove revolution


Fighting climate change and improving the health of the world’s poorest people are often seen as competing priorities. Yet some technologies address both tasks at the same time. And one technology is among the cheapest methods of achieving either: improved cooking stoves.
Almost half the world’s households, some three billion, eat food cooked on fires and stoves burning wood, dung, coal, straw, husks and charcoal. Traditional stoves make kitchens death traps for the world’s most vulnerable people. Pollution levels from smoke and gases such as carbon monoxide are typically hundreds of times those that would be tolerated in the streets or a factory. An estimated 1.6 million people die annually as a result, including around a million children under five, mostly victims of childhood pneumonia.