Anita Marangoly George, World Bank: Clean cookstoves could curb 4 million annual indoor pollution deaths

12 February 2016

Anita Marangoly George, Senior Director, World Bank

LONDON: Scaling up the use of clean cookstoves globally could help reduce the 4 million deaths each year that are linked to indoor pollution, says Anita Marangoly GeorgeSenior Director World Bank, in an exclusive interview on The Climate Group’s digital channel Climate TV.

At present, cooking with dirty fuels and inefficient stoves causes 4.3 million deaths a year. Put into perspective, dirty fuels used in the kitchen are a bigger killer than HIV/AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis combined. They are not only physically harmful on their own, but also a powerful driver of environmental degradation, gender inequality and poverty.

As Anita Marangoly George says to Climate TV: “2.9 billion people don't have access to clean cooking solutions and it's one of the largest causes of deaths. So you have 4.3 million people die every year because of indoor pollution, mostly caused from cooking with dirty fuels as well as heating solutions which are not clean. And it obviously affects women and children the most. What’s again discouraging is to see the numbers are not improving but deteriorating.”

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

But while the issue is not yet improving, ‘access to clean cooking solutions’ is now included in the United Nations’ Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. It is a sub goal under goal number seven of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

UN’s incorporation signifies the international community’s recognition of clean cooking solutions as essential for climate protection, women’s empowerment and international development because it highlights the inextricable links between energy access and poverty.

CLEAN COOKING

The insertion is also expected to be a catalyst for the creation of a wide range of solutions for dirty cooking fuels. In her interview with Climate TV, Anita Marangoly George emphasizes the need to, “come up with not just new technologies, like clean cookstoves, but also new fuels substituting dirty fuels like kerosene and charcoal. We also need new mechanisms of financing. So, creating attribution and impact so that you can measure it, and investors can pay to have those kind of outcomes and results. We also need to be making sure that the public and private sector works together to provide clean cooking solutions.”

The amendment to the Sustainable Development Goals should prioritize the adoption of efficient and clean cookstoves internationally, as well as the financial mechanisms that can enable this important need in the global South.

text by Antonia Jennings, video by Ilario D'Amato

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