Clean kitchen can dramatically reduce Kenya’s carbon emissions

Children carrying firewood to their respective homes after collecting it from Mumias Nuclear on June 14, 2020. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

One of the main implications of the widespread use of solid fuels is its significant impact on climate change. On average, 25 percent of all black carbon comes from inefficient cooking and lighting. High levels of indoor air pollution increase the risk of acute respiratory infections and cause 4.3 million deaths worldwide each year.

Household fuel use in Kenya currently contributes 22-35 million tonnes of CO2 each year and is equivalent to 30-40 percent of Kenya’s total GHG emissions. Significant investment is needed to develop the clean cooking industry in order to meet the targets.

The demand for fuelwood and charcoal has long been associated with increased deforestation, forest degradation and reduced carbon uptake by forests. More than half of the wood harvested in the world is used as fuel.

Burning solid fuels for cooking emits some of the biggest contributors to global climate change; carbon dioxide, methane, and other ozone-producing gases such as carbon monoxide, as well as short-lived climate forcers like carbon black. The 2013 Stockholm Environment Institute report indicates that the global greenhouse gas emission reduction potential of improved cookstove projects is estimated at one gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year. Carbon markets can provide incentives to reduce these emissions.

One of the main sources of household air pollution (PAD) is the use of solid fuels and kerosene in traditional and inefficient stoves such as open fires, resulting in the emission of large amounts of pollutants such as particles, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, oxygenated and chlorinated organic compounds. With fossil fuels like kerosene, all emissions contribute to climate change. With biofuels such as crop residues, fuelwood and charcoal, some of the CO2 emitted during fuel combustion can be recovered during the growth of new biomass.

Acute lower respiratory infections are considered the second leading cause of death and are linked to 26% of all deaths reported in hospitals in Kenya. Other illnesses linked to exposure to PAHs include ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke. Lower Respiratory infections such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis have been the leading causes of PAH-related deaths in Kenya. According to the Clean Cooking Sector Study, it is estimated that PAHs kill up to 21,560 per year.

Women and children are the most affected because they spend a lot of time in poorly ventilated kitchens. Each year, at least 50% of global pneumonia deaths in children under five are attributed to indoor air pollution and 4.3 million people die from illnesses attributable to air pollution interior.

Clean cooking solutions are Kenya’s second most effective way to reduce emissions. Increased energy efficiency and the introduction of alternative fuels, using renewable fuel sources, can reduce climate emissions caused by cooking. To achieve a significant climate impact, there would have to be a huge adoption of clean and efficient stoves.

In the recent past, the government has invested substantial resources in the energy sector to stimulate economic growth, although this has mainly been focused on energy for lighting both at the national level and at the national level. county. Yet clean cooking has not received similar attention in the energy arena, donors have always strived to close the funding gap in the clean cooking sector by shifting their energy priorities to include clean cooking.

The government’s commitment to ensure universal access to clean and modern cooking solutions by 2028 is largely influenced by adequate investments in the sector. Kenya has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 30%.

Kenya has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations National Framework Convention on Climate Change. The document sets total benchmark greenhouse gas emissions for 2010 at 73 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent for land use, land-use change and forestry. Cooking at household level is therefore an important contributor to total national emissions. The National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-22) notes that adopting improved stoves with higher conversion efficiency has the greatest potential for reducing GHG emissions, highlighting the importance of the household sector. cooking in Kenya’s quest to achieve its NDC.

Many of today’s more efficient cooking stoves have been shown to reduce fuel consumption by 30-60% and provide cleaner, more complete combustion, which can result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse and black carbon and reduce impacts on forests. The latest evidence indicates that advanced stoves and fuels can reduce black carbon emissions by 50-90%.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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