Exposure to smoke from polluting, open fires or inefficient fuels – the primary means of cooking and heating for nearly three billion people in the developing world – causes nearly 4 million premature deaths annually, including 605,000 deaths in China, every year.
Exposure to smoke from cooking contributes to a range of chronic illnesses and acute health impacts such as early childhood pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, and low birth weight. Women and young children are the most affected, with more than 3,000 children in China dying every year as a result of acute lower respiratory infections caused by the use of solid fuels.
Thirty-one percent of people in China rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating. This reliance on biomass for cooking and heating leads to environmental degradation through increased pressure on local natural resources, and forces women and children to spend many hours each week collecting wood. Inefficient cooking also contributes to climate change through emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and aerosols such as black carbon. Household air pollution caused by traditional cooking and heating contributes one third of China’s total PM2.5 emissions and more than half of China’s total black carbon emissions.
Clean Cooking Can Help
The use of cleaner, more modern cookstoves and fuels can dramatically reduce exposure to harmful cookstove smoke, provide myriad economic opportunities, and help reduce forest degradation and slow climate change. More modern stoves and cleaner fuels also reduce the time people—usually women and girls—spend collecting fuel, freeing up time for income generating activities or schoolwork
The Alliance’s partnership with the Government of China focuses on the following initial interventions: support for the design and development of the government’s 40 million by 2020 adoption national cookstove program, engagement of Chinese health, environment, and gender researchers in activities of the broader Alliance Research Platform; support for the development and enhancement of two Chinese testing centers; active engagement with the manufacturing community in the design and production of clean cookstoves that will meet the needs of the domestic and global markets; ensure contributions to and the eventual adoption of global ISO cookstove standards; and advocacy at the government-level to prioritize clean cooking solutions. Here are some of the accomplishments and activities so far:
- MOU signed with All-China Women’s Federation for joint efforts in women’s empowerment and awareness building
- Seven pilot projects completed in Hebei, Liaoning, Henan, Sichuan, Hubei, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces
- Agreement with China’s National Development and Reform Commission for a South-South program on clean cookstoves
- Release of the large-scale China Investment Study, which looked at opportunities for strategic cookstoves investment in China
- Together with local partners, the Alliance launched a series of clean cooking pilots to increase production and distribution of cleaner, more efficient fuels. As a result, more than 75 new fuel distributors started operations and an additional 250,000 households gained access to clean cooking fuels.
- Launched a China Council, bringing together corporate CEOs, venture capitalists, influential leaders, and celebrities to further raise awareness around clean stoves and fuels.
- The government has explicitly provisioned the promotion and adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in its last Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and the Alliance and the Chinese government are working to have clean cooking carried over in the new Five-Year Plan.
Number of deaths per year attributable to household air pollution - 271,000 (IHME, 2017)
Percentage of woodfuel harvest that is unsustainable - 10% (Bailis, Drigo, Ghilardi, & Masera,
China Agricultural University
2012 - China
Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT)
2012 - China
Rural Energy & Environmental Agency of Ministry Of Agriculture, China
2015 - China
Beijing University of Chemical Technology
2012 - China