Although one in five people on the planet lack access to modern electricity, two in five, or nearly three billion people, rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking or heating.
Household air pollution produced by rudimentary cookstoves is so toxic that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates it leads to around four million deaths every year - a figure that exceeds the death toll attributed to malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.
Reliance on traditional use of solid biomass for cooking contributes to forest depletion and climate change. In many developing countries, biomass is cultivated and harvested non-renewably.
Cooking with biomass is also an enormous burden on families' livelihoods. In rural areas, women and girls can devote up to six hours per day gathering wood or spend a third of household income on fuel.
Therefore, addressing the use of open fires and traditional cookstoves and fuels is one of the world's most pressing health and environmental problems, disproportionately affecting women and children.
Replacing traditional fireplaces with cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient cooking solutions can reduce smoke emissions, provide cost savings and reduce the time and resources needed to procure fuel.
BLEN fuels (biogas, liquefied petroleum gas, electricity, and natural gas) are the cleanest solutions, able to reduce household air pollution emissions to the level of WHO guidelines safe for health. They are ideal bridge fuels to non-intermittent, fully renewable energy options for household energy use. In geographical contexts or situations where BLEN solutions are currently harder to develop at scale, or for very poor households that cannot afford them (without subsidies), improved cookstoves that burn biomass more efficiently may also provide some benefits as an interim solution.
How we make a difference
Here are a few examples of how EAP members are working to promote clean cooking solutions and fuels across the globe.
OFID's global advocacy efforts for energy poverty alleviation have enabled the organization to generate solutions and scale them up quickly and efficiently; especially when working closely with a wide network of partners to deliver the best-suited solutions.
Shell is the largest private sector supporter of the Global Alliance For Clean Cookstoves, having pledged $13 million to date, and provided in-kind contributions including business and technical skills and a full-time secondee. Funding is currently focused on creating impact locally in China, India and Nigeria.
The Global LPG Partnership (GLPGP) assists developing countries to plan, finance and implement national-scale availability and use of LPG for cooking. GLPGP also engages at community level, in scalable microfinancing programs to address upfront costs for poorer LPG consumers, and facilitates local distribution expansion through support to LPG entrepreneurs.
Around 80% of the 3 billion people without access to clean cooking live in just 20 countries.
Promote the use of cleaner cooking technologies and fuels that can reduce the incidence of Household Air Pollution at the global level, on a commercially viable basis, by leveraging industry capabilities to support access to energy
Share best practices around the deployment of cleaner and modern solutions to the energy poor, in order to address the energy gap
Disseminate knowledge about energy access solutions