About

Black carbon is a byproduct of poor or incomplete combustion and is estimated to contribute the equivalent of 25 to 50% of carbon dioxide warming globally. It also has local climatic effects. In South Asia, for example, black carbon disrupts annual monsoons and accelerates the melting of the Himalayan-Tibetan glaciers, threatening water availability and food security for millions of people. These problems are compounded by crop damage from ozone partly produced by cookstove emissions, and from surface dimming that results as airborne black carbon intercepts sunlight.

Since the atmospheric lifetime of black carbon is only a few days, reducing black carbon emissions can bring about a rapid climate response in a short amount of time. Their reduction also produces multiple benefits in areas close to emission sources. Replacing traditional cookstoves more efficient ones can have a significant impact. Modern cookstoves emit less greenhouse gases and also reduce fuel use by 30-60% and black carbon emissions by 50-90%.

Improving domestic heating that uses solid fuel burning (primarily wood and coal) in both developed and developing countries is another way to reduce black carbon. Although smaller in gross terms compared to domestic cooking, heating emissions tend to occur quite close to cryosphere (snow and ice) regions. This intensifies the regional climate impacts as black carbon soot falling on white ice and snow decreases their reflectivity and contributes significantly to melting of land glaciers and sea ice. In addition, heating emissions are one of the few sources that is projected to increase globally, as more households turn to burning wood for warmth.

The household cooking and heating sector represents one of the best opportunities for the Coalition to affect quick and significant measures to reduce SLCPs and meet the climate goals of the global community while achieving other health, gender, environmental, and development benefits.

Objectives

The initiative aims to speed up reductions in SLCP emissions through high-level advocacy, support for new finance mechanisms, new research, and development of standards and testing protocols to provide clear criteria for evaluating emissions reductions for improved cookstoves, heatstoves and fuels.

Activities

Location of activities

  • Asia and the Pacific
    • Mongolia
      • Ulaanbaatar

Description of activities

Progress

The Gold Standard Foundation, with funding from the CCAC, has completed a market assessment to identify potential institutions willing to pay for climate, health and gender impacts of clean cooking projects.

The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, under the initiative, has provided recommendations for standards and labels for cookstoves in Ghana and Uganda and is developing standards and labelling implementation strategies in Guatemala, Kenya, and Nigeria. A first of its kind Consumer Study on labelling in Ghana was conducted and will be used to guide Ghanaian policymakers on how to design a cookstove label that’s effective in conveying relevant performance information to consumers, so that they can make more-informed purchase decisions.

The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) has published the first testing protocol for black carbon emissions from wood fuelled heat stoves. Called the Protocol for Measuring Emissions of Black Carbon and Organic Carbon from Residential Wood Burning, it has been beta-tested in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and the Czech Republic.

5-year milestones:
 

  • Designed and developed standards and testing protocols to ensure improved performance of clean cookstoves, heatstoves and clean fuels.
  • Contributed to the Global Alliance of Clean Cookstoves Spark Fund, to support clean fuel entrepreneur projects in Tanzania and Nigeria.
  • “Burn Right” campaigns launched in Andes and Nordic countries to reduce black carbon emissions from heat-stoves. 
  • Developed ISO standards for clean cookstoves and Gold Standard Methodology on quantifying SLCP emission reductions.
  • Launched energy efficient lighting activities to phase out kerosene in Nigeria.
  • Funded the first summit on black carbon and other emissions from combined cooking and heating stoves, in Warsaw, Poland.

Next event

Initiative contacts

Yekbun Gurgoz
Yekbun.Gurgoz [at] un.org

Pollutants (SLCP)

Partners & Actors

Lead Partner: A Coalition partner with an active role in coordinating, monitoring and guiding the work of an initiative.

Implementer: A Coalition partner or actor receiving Coalition funds to implement an activity or initiative.

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Partners (11)

Resources

2012 | Scientific Publications
GACC Research Report: Abhishek Kar, Ibrahim H. Rehman, Jennifer Burney, S. Praveen Puppala, Ramasubramanyaiyer Suresh, Lokendra Singh, Vivek K. Singh, Tanveer Ahmed, Nithya Ramanathan, Veerabhadran Ramanathan

This report looks into the use of improved (biomass) cookstoves (ICs) as a Black Carbon (BC) mitigation measure with significant climate and health benefits. ICs encompass a range of technologies...

2014 | Scientific Publications
C Liousse, E Assamoi, P Criqui, C Granier and R Rosset

This open-source research paper investigates emissions of gases and particles from the combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels in Africa, that are expected to increase significantly in the near...

2013 | Scientific Publications
Elizabeth Tedsen JD, Andrew Eberle, Elizabeth Zelljadt

This study by Ecologic Institute examines the current landscape of lighting efforts and initiatives, as well as market growth and development for modern, sustainable off-grid lighting alternatives...

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