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Over two-thirds of Indians use solid fuels to meet daily cooking energy needs, with associated negative environmental, social, and health impacts. Major national initiatives implemented by the Indian government over the last few decades have included subsidies for cleaner burning fuels like liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene to encourage a transition to these. However, the extent to which these programs have affected net emissions from the use of these improved fuels has not been adequately studied. Here, we estimate the amount of fuelwood displaced and its net emissions impact due to improved access to LPG for cooking in India between 2001 and 2011 using nationally representative household expenditure surveys and census datasets. We account for a suite of climate-relevant emissions (Kyoto gases and other short-lived climate pollutants) and biomass renewability scenarios (a fully renewable and a conservative non-renewable case). We estimate that the national fuelwood displaced due to increased LPG access between 2001 and 2011 was approximately 7.2 million tons. On aggregate, we estimate a net emissions reduction of 6.73 MtCO2e due to the fuelwood displaced from increased access to LPG, when both Kyoto and non-Kyoto climate-active emissions are accounted for and assuming 0.3 as the fraction of non-renewable biomass (fNRB) harvested. However, if only Kyoto gases are considered, we estimate a smaller net emissions decrease of 0.03 MtCO2e (assuming fully renewable biomass harvesting), or 3.05 MtCO2e (assuming 0.3 as the fNRB). We conclude that the transition to LPG cooking in India reduced pressures on forests and achieved modest climate benefits, though uncertainties regarding the extent of non-renewable biomass harvesting and suite of climate-active emissions included in such an estimation can significantly influence results in any given year and should be considered carefully in any analysis and policy-making.
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Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
Environmental payoffs of LPG cooking in India
2and H Zerriffi1
1Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, 20452424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)Schlossplatz 1-A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
3Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
19 June 2017
29 August 2017
3 October 2017
27 October 2017
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Keywords: clean cooking, liquefied petroleum gas, fuelwood, energy poverty
Supplementary material for this article is available online
Over two-thirds of Indians use solid fuels to meet daily cooking energy needs, with associated
negative environmental, social, and health impacts. Major national initiatives implemented by the
Indian government over the last few decades have included subsidies for cleaner burning fuels like
liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene to encourage a transition to these. However, the extent to
which these programs have affected net emissions from the use of these improved fuels has not been
adequately studied. Here, we estimate the amount of fuelwood displaced and its net emissions impact
due to improved access to LPG for cooking in India between 2001 and 2011 using nationally
representative household expenditure surveys and census datasets. We account for a suite of
climate-relevant emissions (Kyoto gases and other short-lived climate pollutants) and biomass
renewability scenarios (a fully renewable and a conservative non-renewable case). We estimate that
the national fuelwood displaced due to increased LPG access between 2001 and 2011 was
approximately 7.2 million tons. On aggregate, we estimate a net emissions reduction of 6.73 MtCO2e
due to the fuelwood displaced from increased access to LPG, when both Kyoto and non-Kyoto
climate-active emissions are accounted for and assuming 0.3 as the fraction of non-renewable
biomass (fNRB) harvested. However, if only Kyoto gases are considered, we estimate a smaller net
emissions decrease of 0.03 MtCO2e (assuming fully renewable biomass harvesting), or 3.05 MtCO2e
(assuming 0.3 as the fNRB). We conclude that the transition to LPG cooking in India reduced
pressures on forests and achieved modest climate benefits, though uncertainties regarding the extent
of non-renewable biomass harvesting and suite of climate-active emissions included in such an
estimation can significantly influence results in any given year and should be considered carefully in
any analysis and policy-making.
1. Introduction
Almost 40% of the worlds population or 3 billion
individuals (World Bank, IEA 2017) depend on solid
fuels (including traditional biomass such as wood,
crop residue, and dung) to meet their daily household
cooking energy requirements (Arnold et al 2003,Inter-
national Energy Agency 2016,WorldBank,IEA2017).
About a quarter of the global population dependent
on traditional biomass or about 800 million individ-
uals live in India alone, and this burning of biomass
contributes to about 26.60% of total final energy con-
sumption in India. Inefficient combustion of biomass
in traditional stoves has both local as well as global
environmental impacts. Unsustainable harvesting of
fuelwood, especially in densely populated areas, leads
to deforestation (Arnold et al 2003,Foleyet al 2007,
Hosier 1993,McGranahan1991), accelerated degrada-
tion (DeFries and Pandey 2010,Ghilardiet al 2007,
2009, Heltberg et al 2000), and depletion of local
resources (Masera et al 2006). How biomass is har-
vested (sustainably or not) can also have an impact on
the contribution to climate change from the carbon
dioxide (CO2) released (Edwards et al 2004, Hutton
and Rehfuess 2006, Smith et al 2000). Additionally,
burning of biomass contributes to the emissions of
products of incomplete combustion such as black car-
bon (Kar et al 2012, Ramanathan and Carmichael
© 2017 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
2008). The resultant household air pollution from inef-
ficient use of solid fuels is one of the top environmental
health risks in developing countries, contributing to
over 4 million deaths globally (WHO 2016). Further-
more, about 25%30% of ambient fine particulate
pollution (PM2.5) inSouthAsia is attributableto house-
hold solid fuel combustion (Chafe et al 2014), making
it a leading contributor to the burden of disease in the
region (Balakrishnan et al 2014,Rehmanet al 2011,
Smith et al 2014). Research has shown that the use of
improved cooking technologies and fuels can signifi-
cantly improve household air quality and human health
from reduced smoke (Dutta et al 2007,WHO2016,
Singh et al 2014), as well as have other social benefits
such as time saved from reduced fuelwood collection
(Brooks et al 2016, Hutton and Rehfuess 2006).
Due to the multiple benefits of improved cooking
technologies and clean fuels, numerous programs in
India to encourage their use have been implemented
since the 1970s. These programs include LPG inter-
ventions, price subsidies, public awareness campaigns,
and improved distribution/delivery mechanisms. The
Indian government in recent years has accelerated
efforts through multiple new programs to increase liq-
uefied petroleum gas (LPG) access to another 50 million
below poverty line households by 2019 (Ministry of
Petroleum and Natural Gas 2016). However, to what
extent past and current policies have enabled a transi-
tion away from fuelwood to cleaner-burning fuels like
LPG, and what the net emissions impacts of this has
been has not been adequately studied.
Transitioning to improved stoves and cleaner mod-
ern fuels (such as LPG) can, in theory, positively
influence forest resources, global climate, local air qu al-
ity, and human health and well-being. Modern fuels,
such as LPG, natural gas and electricity, are viewed
as being the most beneficial from the perspective of
human health as they significantly reduce emissions
of household air pollutants (WHO 2014). However,
households might be transitioning from what could
be a renewable fuel (biomass—depending on how it
is harvested) to a fossil fuel. This raises the question
of the net climate change impact of such a switch.
There has been limited work assessing this potential
trade-off to date. Existing studies include calculations
based on hypothetical stove switch-outs or modeling
of future emissions based on projected stove adoption
(Cameron et al 2016, Freeman and Zerriffi 2012,Ghi-
lardi et al 2009,Pachauriet al 2013). A recent KfW
report provides an overview of the evidence base on the
impact of LPG use on the climate and forests (Bruce
et al 2017).Onegapintheexistingknowledgebase,
highlighted by this and other studies, is the lack of esti-
mations of net climate relevant emissions impacts from
historic data on household fuel switching that reflect
actual conditions of stove use and stacking. This paper
addresses this gap specifically by examining the climate
effect of the switch from fuelwood to LPG cooking in
India over the decade from 2001–2011. Our analysis
includes the estimation of net impacts considering a
suite of various climate-active emissions (Kyoto gases
and other short-lived climate pollutants) and biomass
renewability scenarios (a fully renewable and a 0.3 frac-
tion of non-renewable biomass case). We assess the
aggregate change in fuel consumption and resulting
changes in emissions that occurred as a result of both
the suite of policies put in place as well as the supply-side
and demand-side decisions that were made by compa-
nies and households over this period. However, we are
unable to estimate the effect of specific policies in place
between 2001 and 2011 in transitioning people to the
use of LPG as policy-specific data is unavailable to us.
2. Materials and methods
We assess the net impact on emissions from increased
access to LPG for cooking in Indian households over the
decade from 20012011. In what follows, we describe
our main data sources and methods. A more complete
description of the methods, including data tables, is pre-
sented in the supplementary information (SI) available
fuelwood displaced as the amount of fuelwood not used
(i.e. saved) due to the use of LPG. We focusour research
on India, as it has the largest solid fuel using population
globally, and over two-thirds of Indian households still
depend on these fuels (Government of India 2016,Ki-
Moon 2011,WorldBank,IEA2017). Also, the country
has seen a huge governmental push towards transition-
ing people to the use of cleaner fuels and stoves for over
three decades.
Two key national sources of data on LPG and fuel-
wood access and consumption were utilized in this
Bottom-up estimates of household LPG and fuel-
wood consumption are derived from the large
nationally representative socio-economic surveys
conducted by the National Sample Survey (NSS)
organization (MOSPI 1999,2011).
Data on the total number of households using
wood vs. LPG as their primary fuel are taken
from the Indian national censuses and are used to
scale the bottom-up survey estimates to national
Using the data from thetwo representative national
surveys, NSS rounds 55 (year 19992000) and 68 (year
20112012), we identified primary users of LPG and
fuelwood (those households who identified it is their
main cooking fuel), and secondary users of LPG and
fuelwood (those households who did not identify it as
their main cooking fuel yet consumed some amount of
fuelwood or LPG). In 2011, there were about 70 million
primary users of LPG, and 29 million secondary users
of the fuel (table 1). Both primary and secondary users
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
are accounted for in our analysis so that the emissions
impact of stove stacking is included.
Our methodology in this study consists of three key
steps. First, we applied statistical matching techniques
to create a synthetic dataset of matched households
considering the subset of households that gained access
to LPG between 2001 and 2011. In a second step,
we used this synthetic dataset to estimate the amount
of fuelwood displaced due to increased LPG access
in 2011. Finally, we used our estimates of fuelwood
displaced and LPG use in 2011 to estimate the net
emissions impacts of this cooking fuel transition con-
sidering a suite of climate-active emissions and bioma ss
renewability assumptions.
For the statistical matching, we utilized a mixed
method based on DOrazio (2006), which was imple-
mented using the R StatMatch package (R Core Team
2013). The method was applied to create a synthetic
dataset of over 100 000 matched households to exam-
ine changes in household fuel consumption over the
decade in the absence of longitudinal panel data by
matching similar households from the two NSS rounds
55 and 68 based on State, sector (urban/rural), and
caste. Further details regarding the statistical matching
techniques applied are presented in the supplementary
This synthetic dataset was then used in the anal-
ysis that followed. A filter was applied such that only
those households having no access to LPG in 2000
were included in the analysis, regardless of access to
or level of LPG consumption in 2011. To estimate the
amount of fuelwood displaced due to LPG access in
2011, we used a three step Tobit model, based on the
technique in Greene (2003). Our R-code for this analy-
sis was based on the gamma hurdle biological model by
Anderson (2014), which is the same as the Tobit model
used in econometrics. We tested the model using a
range of explanatory variables (urban/rural, LPG quan-
tity, household size, income, caste, employment, and
religion), and the best model was selected based on
the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and log like-
lihood (logLik). AIC estimates the quality of a model
relative to other models, while logLik compares the
fit of different coefficients to maximize optimal val-
ues. By these criteria, the model we selected to predict
firewood use in 2011 included the quantity of LPG con-
sumed, household size and urban/rural as independent
Coefficients of the estimated Tobit model were
then used to predict the amount of annual fuelwood
displaced by an average sized household that gained
access to LPG in 2011. Estimates were made for average
sized urban households and rural households sepa-
rately. Using the census enumeration of number of
households that gained access to LPG between 2001 and
2011, we then estimated the total fuelwood displaced in
2011. These estimates on household LPG consumption
and fuelwood displaced were then ultimately utilized to
calculate the net emissions impact (in million metric
tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or MtCO2e) from
increased LPG access. Net emissions were calculated
utilizing the emissions factors and hundred year global
warming potentials (GWP100 ) from Freeman and Zer-
riffi (2014) for a traditional open fire and an LPG stove.
This includes the uncertainty associated with estimates
of the emission factor based on reported stove testing
If fuelwood is sustainably procured (i.e. renew-
able), the CO2emission from wood is zero, as it is
presumed to be reabsorbed into the ecosystem cycle
during tree growth. However, it is known from lit-
erature that not all fuelwood harvested is renewable
(Bailis et al 2015), and in fact, the fraction of non-
renewable biomass (fNRB) extracted can vary by huge
margins (0%90%) globally. A higher fNRB would
ascribe correspondingly higher emissions to biomass
fuels and a greater benefit of a switch to LPG. In
this work, we consider two cases of fuelwood renewa-
bility: an unrealistic case of fully renewable biomass
(fNRB = 0), and a more realistic but globally conserva-
tive case where we use an estimate of 0.3 as the fNRB.
Cookstove carbon markets tend to use high values hov-
ering at 80% or more, however, Bailis et al (2015)
estimated the national fNRB for India to be around
24 percent. Thus, we assume a conservative 30% as the
fNRB to illustrate the impact of fNRB on emissions
The difference between emissions from fuelwood
displaced and increased LPG use determined our esti-
mates of the net emissions impact from the transition
to LPG cooking in 2011. Net emissions were estimated
under the alternate assumptions of renewability of
biomass extraction as mentioned above, for a restricted
case considering only Kyoto gases (CO2and CH4), and
a more complete case including also emissions of other
important climate-active emissions (CO, non-met hane
hydrocarbons, organic carbon, black carbon (BC), and
3. Results
Basic statistical analysis indicates that the proportion
of Indian households primarily using fuelwood for
cooking decreased by 3.5% even though the total num-
ber of households using fuelwood increased by almost
20 million over the decade 2001 to 2011 (table 1). This
was due to the rapid growth of the Indian population
from approximately 1.02 billion in 2001 to 1.22 billion
in 2011 (Government of India 2016).
At the same time, households using LPG increased
both in number and in percentage over this decade indi-
cating a national trend towards increased use of LPG
as a primary household fuel. However, the proportion
of secondary users of fuelwood also increased (by 9%)
suggesting that households tend to initially stack fuels
before moving primarily to the use of LPG. As we do
not have yearly numbers for LPG access and use over
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
Table 1. Descriptive statistics of NSS and Census datasets for 2001 and 2011 (HH = households).
2001 2011
Descriptive statistics # of HH Percent (%) # of HH Percent (%) Source
# of H H 191 963 935 246 740 228 Census
# Urban HH 138 271 559 72.03% 167 874 291 68.04% Census
# Rural HH 53 692 376 27.97% 78 865 937 31.96% Census
Primary LPG HH 33 596 798 17.50% 70 425 518 28.54% Census
Secondary LPG HH 5 050 475 2.63% 29 071 487 11.78% NSS
Primary fuelwood HH 100 842 651 52.53% 120 878 598 48.99% Census
Secondary fuelwood HH 5 050 475 2.63% 29 071 487 11.78% NSS
Table 2. Average LPG consumption and fuelwood displaced by households (HH) in 2011.
Rural Urban Source
Average HH size in 2011 5.11 4.34 Matched data
KG fuelwood displaced per HH yr−1 88.32 242.52 Calculated
# HH gaining access to LPG 2001–2011 11 294 825 25 533 895 Census
Fuelwood (metric tons) displaced yr−1 997 524 6 192 501 Calculated
LPG (metric tons) used in 2011 27 691 189 315 Matched data
Average LPG KG used per HH yr−1 29.42 88.97 Matched data
# HH using LPG in 2011 19 137 351 51 285 532 Census
Figure 1. Change in net emissions of Kyoto gases under differing assumption regarding the fNRB. Error bars depict uncertainty in
emissions ranges due to emission factors utilized.
the decade, we cannot estimate the population moving
from fuelwood and obtaining LPG as a primary fuel,
or using it as a secondary fuel at any point during the
Results of the Tobit model indicate that the total
fuelwood displaced per year, assuming average sized
households, due to increased LPG access in 2011 was
6.19 million tons in urban regions, and 0.99 million
tons in rural regions (table 2). At a national level, this
amounted to a displacement of 7.2 million tons of
fuelwood in 2011. At the same time, the LPG con-
sumption increase due to household gaining access
amounted to approximately 0.028 million tons and
0.189 million tons in rural and urban households
In estimating the emissions of Kyoto gases alone
due to the displacement of fuelwood between 2001
and 2011, the assumption regarding fNRB extraction,
makes a substantial difference. When all fuelwood used
is assumed to be renewably sourced (fNRB = 0) we
estimate a slight net emissions decrease in rural regions
of 0.01 MtCO2e, and in urban regions of 0.02 MtCO2e
in 2011. However, if we conservatively assume a posi-
tive fNRB of 0.3, we estimate a net emissions reduction
of 0.43 MtCO2e in rural, and of 2.62 MtCO2einurban
regions (figure 1). The larger net emissions decrease
estimated for urban households is due to the more
hold consumption of it in urban regions. Furthermore,
the higher net emissions reductions estimated when
assuming a positive fNRB is because the increase in
emissions from LPG use is offset by the reduction
in positive CO2emissions from avoided burning of
non-renewable biomass. The uncertainty in net emis-
sions ranges are due to emission factors utilized from
Freeman and Zerriffi (2014).
When we also consider a suite of non-Kyoto cli-
mate pollutants, in addition to a positive fNRB, our
estimate of net emissions reductions is even higher
at 0.94 MtCO2e in rural and 5.79 MtCO2einurban
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
Figure 2. Change in net emissions considering the cases of (a) only Kyoto gases at fNRB = 0.3, (b) other short-lived climate pollutants,
and (c) combined Kyoto and non-Kyoto climate forcers. Error bars depict uncertainty in emissions ranges due to emission factors
regions (figure 2). This is due to the much higher non-
Kyoto climate forcing emissions associated with the
use of traditional biomass stoves as compared to LPG
stoves. Given that there is no well-accepted protocol for
calculating fNRB globally or agreement on the suite of
emissions to account for, there can be large variances
in the net emissions calculated for the same quan-
tity of fuel consumed. Regardless of these associated
uncertainties, however, we still estimate a large reduc-
tion in climate forcing emissions due to the observed
transition from traditional biomass stoves to LPG
stoves in India between 2001 and 2011.
4. Discussion and conclusion
In recent years, there has been a strong revival in global
policy circles to promote a transition to cleaner cooking
given the increasing evidence of the huge environmen-
tal, social and health externalities of solid fuel use. India
has a long history of providing subsidies for cleaner-
burning fuels, specially kerosene and LPG. Recently,
the LPG subsidy burden for the government has been
estimated at aboutUS$6 billion per year ( Shenoy 2010).
Government initiatives in recent years, such as PAHAL,
Give it UP and Ujjwala, could further accelerate the
rate of LPG access. Ujjwala in particular is targeting
an additional 50 million poor families by 2019, with
anallocatedbudgetofUS$300 million in 20162017
(Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas 2016). The
Indian government plans to meet this estimated growth
in LPG demand by appointing approximately 10 000
new LPG distributors (40% of the current base) in
20162017. Several analyses of the household energy
transition in India exist, but the emissions conse-
quences of this remain uncertain. Our analysis pro vides
an estimate of the net emissions impactsof the observed
transition from traditional biomass cooking to LPG
stoves over the decade 20012011 as a consequence of
both policies and socio-economic developments over
this period. While our analysis is unable to attribute
the net emissions impact to specific policies, it pro-
vides a first historical estimate at the national level of
emissions impacts of the household cooking energy
transition that accounts for actual conditions and fuel
Between 2001 and 2011, we observe a sharp increase
in LPG access in urban India (by 17%), compared to
rural India (by 5%). Two factors contributed to this:
(1) enhanced access and stable supply of LPG in urban
regions, and (2) rapid urbanization of India whereby
rural regions are being converted to urban and rural
populations are moving to urban areas (Kumar and Rai
2014). Both primary and secondary users of fuelwood
are accounted for in our analysis to include the emis-
sions impact of the continued use of fuelwood along
with LPG. Thus, our net emissions impact is likely to
be more conservative when compared to analyses that
account for only primary users of LPG. As access to
LPG improved, assuming all households were of aver-
age size, urban India displaced 6.19 million tons of
fuelwood in 2011, while in rural India only 0.99 mil-
lion tons were displaced. The variation between urban
and rural regions is due to the differences in the LPG
distribution networks, average incomes and price of
fuelwood across these regions. Urban households tend
to generally buy fuelwood (if available) and have access
to better LPG distribution and after sales networks.
Urban households, thus tend to make a more rapid
and complete transition to improved cooking tech-
nologies and are less likely to use wood as a secondary
fuel. Conversely, as fuelwood is easily accessible in rural
regions and the LPG distribution networks are not reli-
able, stacking of fuels is more common among rural
households. In addition to fuelwood, households also
use crop and animal residues like dung as cooking f uels,
especially in rural India, and the emissions from these
fuels also have significant health and climatic impacts.
However, a lack of reliable data on crop and animal
residue use in the NSS surveys limits our ability to
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
include it in our net emissions impact estimations.
Thus, we have only included emissions from fuelwood
and LPG use in our analysis. A key finding of this
work is that even when biomass harvesting is assumed
to be fully renewable (resulting in no CO2impact)
there is no net emissions from the switch to LPG when
considering Kyoto gases only (with some uncertainty
around zero, see SI). This is because of the significantly
higher efficiency of LPG stoves compared to traditional
fuelwood stoves and the fact that traditional stoves
emit methane while LPG stoves do not (coupled
with the higher GWP100 for methane than CO2).
Accounting for black carbon and other non-Kyoto
climate forcings results in a net reduction in emis-
sions from a switch to LPG even at fNRB = 0 (see
SI for the full range of uncertainties). Considering
a more realistic, but still conservative assumption
of 0.3 as the fNRB results, according to our esti-
mates, in a larger net decrease of Kyoto emissions
of 3.05 MtCO2e. Accounting for non-Kyoto climate-
active emissions increases our estimate of net emissions
reductions even further to 6.73 MtCO2e at the national
The estimates we provide on reduction in fuelwood
consumption (and thus on reductions in emissions)
are conservative for a number of reasons. First, the
fraction of biomass that is non-renewably harvested
is conservatively assumed to be 0.3. Some have esti-
mated a higher fraction at the national level for India
while others have estimated a slightly lower fraction
(Bailis et al 2015, Cashman et al 2016). However, all
estimates are highly uncertain and we consider a frac-
tion towards the lower end of the uncertainty range to
ensure avoiding over-estimation. Second, the estimates
of fuelwood displaced per kg of LPG consumed were
made using NSS data that included both primary and
secondary users of LPG. However, in scaling these to the
aggregate national level, Census data on the total num-
ber of households with access was used, which only
includes primary users of the fuel. We would expect
that primary users would have a higher consumption
of LPG than secondary users or a mix of primary and
secondary users (as is observed in the NSSO data).
Thus, the estimate at the national level is likely to be a
lower bound on what each primary user of LPG is con-
suming. Third, again due to the fact that the Census
only captures primary stove use, our estimate of house-
holds gaining access over the decade is likely a lower
bound as it only captures households switching from
no LPG to primary use of LPG and does not include
households gaining access to LPG but using it as a sec-
ondary fuel. Fourth, the GWP100 used for BC is a global
value of 455, whereas reported values in the literature
vary regionally and some estimates for India put the
GWP100 for BC at 1110 (Grieshop et al 2011, Freeman
and Zerriffi 2014). Finally, we acknowledge that our
estimates of net emissions from increased LPG access
and use do not account for upstream emissions from the
supply and manufacture of LPG. However, estimates
of the emissions in the production and transport stage
of LPG suggest that these are less than 10% of total
emissions from LPG (Cashman et al 2016). It should
also be noted that this analysis only capture changes at
the extensive margin. That is, we only account for the
reduction in fuelwood consumption and increase in
LPG consumption associated with households mov-
ing from no access to having LPG access. We do
not account for changes at the intensive margin (i.e.
increases in LPG consumption from 2001 to 2011 by
households that already had LPG in 2001). This is left
to future work.
Despite these limitations, our analysis can be used
to inform the design of public policies and investments
to support clean cooking transitions in developing
countries. The calculation of net emissions impact
and fuelwood displaced due to increased LPG access
and use can also be estimated using other methods.
However, this is a first attempt to do so for India
using the statistical matching techniques as far as we
know. Better data availability in the future could allow
the application of alternative methods and to other
national contexts as well. Availability of longitudinal
in fuel stacking and LPG use over time. Little work has
been done on determining the extent of public benefits
from reduced emissions even though there is increasing
interest in quantifying the environmental and welfare
benefits for public policy and to generate more fund-
ing to promote cleaner fuel/stove use. This work could
also inform future analysis of the net emissions impact
from increased household LPG access as a consequence
of the new set of policies being implemented by the
Indian government.
Even though the transition of households from
wood to LPG for cooking have significant impacts
on health and fuelwood quantity used, the net climate
impacts continue to remain uncertain, and have sig nifi-
cant implications for household emissions accounting.
The choices regarding the fNRB and climate-active
emissions accounted for are significant for the results
and household emissions accounting. These should
be considered carefully in any analysis and policy-
making. This also has an important impact on potential
revenue generation through utilization of carbon cred-
iting methodologies to fund future clean stove and
fuel interventions. The fNRB assumed is crucial in
determining the feasibility of a carbon credit based
interventions, as carbon credits are based on the
premise that improved stove efficiency and fuel sub-
stitution reduce the use of non-renewable biomass
and its associated emissions. However, no matter
what the assumption regarding fNRB, our results
emphasize the importance of including non-Kyoto
climate-active emissions in estimating the net cli-
mate impacts of transitioning from biomass to LPG
Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 115003
This article was developed under Assistance Agree-
ment No. 83542102 awarded by the US Environmental
Protection Agency to Dr. Hisham Zerriffi. It has not
been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed
in this document are solely those of Devyani Singh,
Dr. Shonali Pachauri, and Dr. Hisham Zerriffi and
do not necessarily reflect those of the Agency. EPA
does not endorse any products or commercial services
mentioned in this publication. This research was also
funded by the International Institute for Applied Sys-
tems Analysis (IIASA). Special thanks are given to Dr.
Valerie Lemay, Professor in the Faculty of Forestry at
the University of British Columbia, for her help with
statistical matching. We would also like to thank Kevin
Ummel, research scholar at IIASAs energy program,
for his help with data preparation and analysis of the
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... Initial efforts to promote LPG were riddled with obstacles. While in rural China clean fuels already supplied half the cooking needs in 2012 (Tao et al., 2018), LPG uptake in rural India increased slowly between the 2001 to the 2011 census (Singh et al., 2017). Efforts introduced thereafter in the form of the gas cylinder Ujjwala scheme have shifted many households towards stove stacking Urpelainen, 2020, 2018;Wang and Bailis, 2015). ...
... Both the total population (Census, 2019) and average family size (Singh et al., 2017) as well as the average cooking energy consumed by households which rely exclusively on LPG are known (Gould and Urpelainen, 2018). One can calculate the total cooking energy requirement of the residential sector directly from these quantities ( Fig. 1) without processing food consumption data. ...
... Previous survey based studies have reported that the majority of households which exclusively rely on LPG for their cooking needs use approximately 12 gas cylinders per year (Gould and Urpelainen, 2018). The average household size is 4.3 in urban India and 5.1 in rural India (Singh et al., 2017). This means the average annual per capita LPG usage is approximately 33.4-39.6 kg per person per year in households that rely exclusively on LPG. ...
India struggles with frequent exceedances of the ambient air quality standard for particulate matter and benzene. In the past two decades India has made considerable progress in tackling indoor air pollution by phasing out kerosene lamps, and pushing biofuel using households towards Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) usage. In this study, we use updated emission inventories and trends in residential fuel consumption, to explore changes in the contribution of different sectors towards India's largest air pollution problem. We find that residential fuel usage is still the largest air pollution source, and that the <10% households using cow dung as cooking fuel contribute ∼50% of the residential PM2.5 emissions. However, if current trends persist, residential biofuel usage in India is likely to be phased out by 2035. India's renewable energy policies are likely to reduce emissions in the heat and electricity sector and manufacturing industries in the mid-term. PM2.5 emissions from open waste burning, on the other hand, hardly changed in the decade from 2010 to 2020. We conclude that without strong policies to promote recycling and upcycling of non-biodegradable waste, and the conversion of biodegradable waste to biogas, open waste burning is likely to become India's largest source of air pollution by 2035. While our study is limited to India, our findings are of relevance for other countries in the global South suffering from similar waste management challenges.
... Traditional cooking fuels, such as firewood, crop residues, or cow dung, and traditional cookstoves emit carbon dioxide (CO2), respirable particles, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO; N2O), and sulfur (S) that cause air pollution (Bruce et al. 2015;Kandpal et al. 1995;Smith and Sagar 2014). Air pollution is harmful to the environment (Singh et al. 2017) and has adverse health effects for children and adults, such as respiratory illnesses (Duflo et al. 2008) and even infant mortality (Imelda 2020). Owing to these concerns, fuel conversion programs that seek to convert traditional cooking fuels to cleaner fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), have been launched in many developing countries. ...
... Programs that promote LPG usage are brought forth by the central government on the premise of the environmental and long-term health benefits of clean cooking fuel adoption (Goldemberg et al. 2018). Research shows that nearly 7.2 million tons of fuelwood was replaced by increased LPG access in the country, which reduced the pressure on forests and achieved modest climate benefits (Singh et al. 2017). Imelda (2020) finds that a nationwide fuel-switching program in Indonesia that sought to replace a traditional fuel (paraffin) with LPG has reduced infant mortality and incidence of low birth weight. ...
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While the health and environmental benefits of adopting clean cooking fuel are widely documented in the literature, the immediate and direct benefit-women's time-saving for fuel collection/preparation and cooking-has received little or no attention. Using panel data from six energy-poor Indian states involving about 9,000 households, we test whether liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) adoption enhances women's welfare by reducing fuel collection/preparation and cooking time and improving the overall cooking experience through a convenient and efficient cooking arrangement. We also explore the association between women's participation in decision-making and LPG adoption and refill. The findings reveal that LPG adopters save time by collecting firewood less frequently and preparing fewer pieces of dung cake than non-adopters. Additionally, LPG adopters save 15 minutes of cooking time per day than non-adopters Finally, LPG adoption makes the cooking experience more convenient and simpler than traditional cooking fuel. Women's sole or joint decision-making power is positively correlated with LPG adoption and refilling LPG cylinders. These findings imply that the true social benefit of clean cooking fuel adoption is much greater than the welfare gain accrued through greenhouse gas mitigation and health benefits from cleaner air. However, these positive externalities are less likely to be internalized in fuel choice decisions in households where women do not participate in important household decisions making.
... While there is general acceptance that the adoption of cleaner fuels like LPG has the potential to deliver health, social and environmental benefits including positive climate impacts in the short term, there has been mixed success on their sustained use despite state-subsidized efforts (Bruce et al., 2017;Rosenthal et al., 2018). Earlier studies suggest that there is a wide heterogeneity of factors influencing its use (Jain et al., 2018;Kumar et al., 2017;Singh et al., 2017). This includes; price (Sankhyayan & Dasgupta, 2019), women's participation in household decision-making (Gould & Urpelainen, 2018), seasonality (Kar et al., 2019) and household characteristics like house type and household size, and ease of access (Giri & Aadil, 2018). ...
... Switching to cleaner cooking fuels such as LPG has the potential to deliver extensive health, social and environmental benefits, including positively affecting climate in the short term (Bruce et al., 2017;Rosenthal et al., 2018;Singh et al., 2017). It can further support achieving a few of the targets under SDG. ...
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Reducing air pollutionAir pollution, especially from householdHouseholds emissions, is considered a major policy target to reap the triple benefitsTriple benefits of reduced household air pollutionAir pollution, reduction in forestForest dependence and reduced emission of carbon. Over a decade and a half, the Indian government has been persuading ruralRuralhouseholdsHouseholds to adopt either better stoves or cleaner fuelsCleaner fuels to increase social welfare. There has been a strong policy push to incentivize ruralRural poor to adopt liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) throughLPG various schemes. This chapter examines the factors impacting on refilling of LPG cylinders across districts of major states in India. We find that ruralRural income enhancing schemes have a positive influence on LPGLPG refill. Female literacy has a positive impact but female workforceFemale workforce participation has a negative impact on refills. We also find that areas of very dense forestsForest and scrub forests have a positive impact on refills while open forestForest has a negative impact. Increased development expenditure would provide win–win solutions for reducing poverty, increasing women’s empowermentEmpowerment and higher adoption of cleaner fuelsCleaner fuels.
... While there is general acceptance that the adoption of cleaner fuels like LPG has the potential to deliver health, social and environmental benefits including positive climate impacts in the short term, there has been mixed success on their sustained use despite state-subsidized efforts (Bruce et al., 2017;Rosenthal et al., 2018). Earlier studies suggest that there is a wide heterogeneity of factors influencing its use (Jain et al., 2018;Kumar et al., 2017;Singh et al., 2017). This includes; price (Sankhyayan & Dasgupta, 2019), women's participation in household decision-making (Gould & Urpelainen, 2018), seasonality (Kar et al., 2019) and household characteristics like house type and household size, and ease of access (Giri & Aadil, 2018). ...
... Switching to cleaner cooking fuels such as LPG has the potential to deliver extensive health, social and environmental benefits, including positively affecting climate in the short term (Bruce et al., 2017;Rosenthal et al., 2018;Singh et al., 2017). It can further support achieving a few of the targets under SDG. ...
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Note: If you would like to have a copy of the book, please click on the DOI for free download. This open access book documents myriads of ways community-based climate change adaptation and resilience programs are being implemented in South Asian countries. The narrative style of writing in this volume makes it accessible to a diverse audience from academics and researchers to practitioners in various governmental, non-governmental and international agencies. At a time when climate change presents humanity with a gloomy future, the stories of innovation, creativity, grassroots engagement and locally applicable solutions highlighted in this book provides insights into hopeful ways of approaching climate solutions. South Asian countries have been dealing with the impact of climate change for decades and thus offer valuable learning opportunities for developing countries within and beyond the region as well as many western countries that are confronting the wrath of climate induced natural disasters more recently.
... In particular, providing universal electricity access has been shown to exert little impact on global CO 2 emissions (Calvin et al. 2016), while switching to universal clean cooking would even imply a reduction in emissions and energy demand due to strong efficiency gains (e.g. see Rosenthal et al. 2018;Singh et al. 2017). At the same time, providing energy access allows for a steeply increased adaptation capability by enabling air cooling and telecommunications, for example. ...
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This chapter provides an overview of the Russian energy sector and its role in the Russian economy, also in the context of energy transition. Russia, ranking fourth in the world in primary energy consumption and in carbon dioxide emissions, adheres to the strategy of “business as usual” and relies on fossil fuels. Decarbonization of the energy sector is not yet on the agenda; a skeptical attitude to the problem of global climate change prevails among stakeholders. GDP energy intensity remains high, supported by relatively low energy prices and high cost of capital. The share of solar and wind energy in the energy balance is insignificant and is not expected to exceed 1% by 2035. The challenge for Russia in the coming years is to develop a new strategy for the development of its energy sector, which enters the zone of high turbulence—even in the absence of the influence of the climate change agenda—due to COVID-19, increasing global competition, growing technological isolation and financial constraints.
... Although a fossil fuel, LPG emits lower levels of fine particulate matter and BC than polluting cooking fuels 8,9 and can also reduce unsustainable deforestation. [10][11][12] Thus, LPG can serve as a 'bridge' fuel for protecting public health until the infrastructure needed for renewable electricity is available to the hardest-to-reach households. 13 ...
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Universal access to cleaner cooking fuels (including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)) is a key target of Sustainable Development Goal 7. Currently, approximately 40 million Kenyans rely on polluting cooking fuels (e.g. charcoal, wood). While the Kenyan government aims to rapidly scale up use of LPG for cooking by 2030, COVID-19 restrictions and a 16% Value Added Tax (VAT) re-introduced on LPG in 2021 have likely hampered progress in LPG uptake. We aimed to quantify the effect of these economic shocks on food and energy security in Langas informal urban settlement in western Kenya. We further evaluated whether households most adversely affected by COVID-19 restrictions were more likely to be socioeconomically impacted by the VAT re-imposition. A cross-sectional survey (n=1,542) assessed changes in cooking fuel patterns, food security and livelihoods of primary cooks due to these two economic shocks. While under COVID-19 restrictions, 75% (n=1,147) of participants reported income declines and 18% (n=164) of participants using LPG (n=922) switched their primary cooking fuel to charcoal, wood or kerosene. Households reporting lower income while under COVID-19 restrictions had 5.3 times (95%CI:[3.8,7.4]) the odds of experiencing food insecurity as those with no change in income. Unemployment and food insecurity under COVID-19 restrictions were substantially higher among informal sector workers (70% and 60%, respectively) compared with business/government employees (45% and 37%, respectively). Following the VAT re-introduction, 44% (n=356) of households using LPG consumed less, and 34% (n=276) cooked more frequently with polluting fuels. Individuals switching away from LPG under COVID-19 restrictions had 3.0 times (95% CI:[2.1,4.3]) the odds of reducing their LPG consumption due to the VAT re-introduction as those maintaining use of LPG. COVID-19 restrictions and the VAT re-introduction disproportionately negatively affected informal sector workers’ livelihoods. A zero-rating of VAT on LPG can help alleviate deepened inequities in LPG access in Kenya.
... Given concern among OECD-DAC donors about the fossil fuel aspect of LPG, we think it is important to provide a reality check on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions and related aspects of sustainability and SDG compliance. From a climate change mitigation perspective, an extensive body of evidence is now showing how LPG is significantly more climate friendly than biomass fuels burned in inefficient stoves [20][21][22][23]. The transition to gas-based cooking/LPG in LMICs is now recommended by the IPCC as an important black carbon mitigation measure [24]. ...
Framed by the United Nation's 'Clean Energy Challenge' to achieve universal energy access for all (SDG7) for the world's 82 million forcibly displaced persons, we focus on the role of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in delivering clean cooking solutions for refugees and host communities in resource-poor countries. Notwithstanding scepticism towards LPG among the majority of Western donors, we summarise evidence to indicate the latent market demand for LPG among refugees, as a cleaner, safer and lower-carbon technology option compared to the baseline scenario in most circumstances. Further, we argue that LPG offers a culturally appropriate and in many cases commercially viable solution in low-income hosting contexts, including rural areas, where host governments promote LPG in national energy access policy and planning. To this end, we argue the case for a Global LPG Market Creation Fund for displaced populations and nearby host communities, to kick-start investment in commercially oriented business models.
... Indeed, concern has been expressed over the potential additional negative contributions to the climate that might result from the promotion of a fossil fuel such as petroleum-based LPG (although entirely a by-product of petroleum sector refining and production of other fuels). Our findings are fully consistent with recent modelled evidence of the combined climate and health impacts from increased population adoption of LPG in Cameroon [13], across 40 diverse LMIC settings [62] and other countries [63][64][65]. Rosenthal et al. [62] conducted modelling based on a theoretical intervention scenario (25,000 homes) whereby solid fuel use was replaced with cleaner cooking options including (i) improved solid fuel stoves, (ii) an advanced combustion (e.g., with fan assistance) solid fuel stove, and (iii) use of LPG for cooking. The modelling was conducted over a 3-year period with an assumption of 60% adoption. ...
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More than 90% of Rwandans rely on polluting solid fuels to meet their cooking needs. The negative impacts on health, climate, and the environment have led the Rwandan government to set a target of halving that number to 42% by 2024. A National Master Plan to promote scale up of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has been developed to define (i) the necessary market conditions, (ii) public and private sector interventions, and (iii) the expected societal impacts. Findings are reported from modelling scenarios of scaling LPG use towards the 2024 policy target and the 2030 target for “universal access to clean modern energy” (SDG7). Household LPG use is projected to increase from 5.6% in 2020 to 13.2% by 2024 and 38.5% by 2030. This level of adoption could result in a reduction of 7656 premature deaths and 403,664 disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs), as well as 243 million trees saved. Reductions in carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions equivalents (CO2e and BCe, respectively) are estimated to reach 25.6 million MT and 14.9 MT, respectively, by 2030. While aggressive policy intervention is required, the health, environmental, and developmental benefits are clear. Implementation of the Rwanda National LPG Master Plan will provide a model for other sub-Saharan African countries to address the priorities for cessation of reliance on solid fuels as an energy source.
... This perhaps reflects the relatively flat social structure in Chhattisgarh's low-income neighbourhoods, as well as an ethic of noninterference, but does not speak well for the possibilities to reduce domestic fossil fuel use in the future. The per capita use of fossil fuels may be low in India, but the large total number of households nevertheless ensures continued major carbon emissions [54] with no apparent lowfossil alternative. Although present public programs do provide significant benefits, they remain unable to adjust to the lived realities of households. ...
Despite a range of initiatives to introduce cleaner fuels, a large proportion of poor people in India continue to rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating, with severe implications for personal and family health. This paper seeks to open up the various fuel-supply strategies that underpin domestic energy use in low-income settings to explain the unconventional solutions (jugaad) that households employ to bridge the gap between energy needs and supply of various fuels, including liquefied petroleum gas. We draw on long-term ethnographic engagements in four severely polluted low-income urban settlements in central India’s coal belt to investigate how communities, and primarily women, ensure domestic energy provision. As households struggle to secure a range of potential fuels with different benefits and drawbacks, we outline the socio-cultural and economic processes that shape household energy decision-making. These highly uncertain processes take place within an institutional structure that offers some possibilities, but is overall too rigid to fit the lived realties of low-income residents. Although households commonly understand that there are negative health effects from solid-fuel smoke, pollution and health are only marginal considerations for households facing daily struggles to reduce expenses. We argue that understanding the everyday jugaad of household energy provision is crucial for the possibilities to shift away from fuels damaging to both human health and the environment.
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Black carbon (BC) emission from biofuel cooking in South Asia and its radiative forcing is a significant source of uncertainty for health and climate impact studies. Quantification of BC emissions in the published literature is either based on laboratory or remote field observations far away from the source. For the first time under Project Surya , we use field measurements taken simultaneously inside rural households, ambient air and vehicular emissions from highways in a rural area in the Indo-Gangetic-Plains region of India to establish the role of both solid biomass based cooking in traditional stoves and diesel vehicles in contributing to high BC and organic carbon (OC), and solar absorption. The major finding of this study is that BC concentrations during cooking hours, both indoors and outdoors, have anomalously large twice-daily peak concentrations reaching 60 μg m<sup>−3</sup> (median 15-min average value) for indoor and 30 μg m<sup>−3</sup> (median 15-min average value) for outdoor during the early morning (05:00 to 08:00) and early evening (17:00 to 19:00) hours coinciding with the morning and evening cooking hours. The BC during the non-cooking hours were also large, in the range of 2 to 30 μg m<sup>−3</sup>. The peak indoor BC concentrations reached as high as 1000 μg m<sup>−3</sup>. The large diurnal peaks seen in this study lead to the conclusion that satellite based aerosol studies that rely on once- daily daytime measurements may severely underestimate the BC loading of the atmosphere. The concentration of OC was a factor of 5 larger than BC and furthermore optical data show that absorbing brown carbon was a major component of the OC. The imprint of the cooking hour peaks were seen in the outdoor BC both in the village as well as in the highway. The results have significant implications for climate and epidemiological studies.
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Household air pollution from traditional cook stoves presents a greater health hazard than any other environmental factor. Despite government efforts to support clean-burning cooking fuels, over 700 million people in South Asia could still rely on traditional stoves in 2030. This number could rise if climate change mitigation efforts increase energy costs. Here we quantify the costs of support policies to make clean cooking affordable to all South Asians under four increasingly stringent climate policy scenarios. Our most stringent mitigation scenario increases clean fuel costs 38% in 2030 relative to the baseline, keeping 21% more South Asians on traditional stoves or increasing the minimum support policy cost to achieve universal clean cooking by up to 44%. The extent of this increase depends on how policymakers allocate subsidies between clean fuels and stoves. These additional costs are within the range of financial transfers to South Asia estimated in efforts-sharing scenarios of international climate agreements.
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This article reports the greenhouse gas emissions of anthropogenic origin by sources and removals by sinks of India for 2007 prepared under the aegis of the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA) (note 1). The emission profile includes carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide. It also includes the estimates of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride at the national level from various sectors, viz. energy, industrial process and product use, agriculture, land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and waste. In 2007, emissions were of the order of 2008.67 Tg (note 2) of CO2 equivalents without emissions from the LULUCF sector. Whereas with LULUCF the emissions were about 1831.65 Tg CO2 equivalents. The energy sector accounted for 69% of the total emissions, the agriculture sector contributed 19% of the emissions, 9% of the emissions was from the industrial processes and product use, and only 3% of the emissions was attributable to the waste sector. The LULUCF sector on the whole was net sink category for CO2. The study tracks the improvements made in inventory estimates at the national level through the years, in terms of the expanding coverage of sources, reducing uncertainties and inclusion of new methodologies, including some elements of future areas of work.
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The study attempts to understand the Urbanization Process, Trend, Pattern and its Consequences based on census data during 1901-2011 in India. The regional variations in the distribution of urban population are significant. Results show that India urban population has increased from 2.58 crores in 1901 to 37.71 crores in 2011 due to rapid industrialization and rural to urban migration. Percent urban has increased from 11% in 1901 to 31% in 2011; Urbanization in India has been relatively slow compared to many developing countries. India is at acceleration stage of the process of urbanization According to 2011, Census of India; Goa is the highly urbanized state with an urban population of 62.1 percent. The numbers of million plus cities have increased from 9 in 1951 to 23 in 1991 and to 50 in 2011. Share of Metropolitan cities population has increased 18.9 percent in 1951 to 42.3 percent in 2011 Rapid urbanization raises many issues that might have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. The monitoring urbanization is a vital role of planner, management, governmental and non-governmental organizations for implementing policies to optimize the use of natural resources and accommodate development at the same time minimizing the impact on the environment.
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Over half of all wood harvested worldwide is used as fuel, supplying ~9% of global primary energy. By depleting stocks of woody biomass, unsustainable harvesting can contribute to forest degradation, deforestation and climate change. However, past efforts to quantify woodfuel sustainability failed to provide credible results. We present a spatially explicit assessment of pan-tropical woodfuel supply and demand, calculate the degree to which woodfuel demand exceeds regrowth, and estimate woodfuel-related greenhouse-gas emissions for the year 2009. We estimate 27–34% of woodfuel harvested was unsustainable, with large geographic variations. Our estimates are lower than estimates from carbon offset projects, which are probably overstating the climate benefits of improved stoves. Approximately 275 million people live in woodfuel depletion ‘hotspots’—concentrated in South Asia and East Africa—where most demand is unsustainable. Emissions from woodfuels are 1.0–1.2 Gt CO2e yr−1 (1.9–2.3% of global emissions). Successful deployment and utilization of 100 million improved stoves could reduce this by 11–17%. At US$11 per tCO2e, these reductions would be worth over US$1 billion yr−1 in avoided greenhouse-gas emissions if black carbon were integrated into carbon markets. By identifying potential areas of woodfuel-driven degradation or deforestation, we inform the ongoing discussion about REDD-based approaches to climate change mitigation.
Despite widespread global efforts to promote clean cookstoves to achieve improvements in air and forest quality, and to reduce global climate change, surprisingly little is known about the degree to which these actually reduce biomass fuel consumption in real-world settings. Using data from in-house weighing of fuel conducted in rural India, we examine the impact of cleaner cookstoves – most of which are LPG stoves – on three key outcomes related to solid fuel use. Our results suggest that using a clean cookstove is associated with daily reductions of about 4.5 kg of biomass fuel, 160 fewer minutes cooking on traditional stoves, and 105 fewer minutes collecting biomass fuels. These findings of substantial savings are robust to the use of estimators with varying levels of control for selection, and to alternative data obtained from household self-reports. Our results support the idea that efforts to promote clean stoves among poor rural households can reduce solid fuel use and cooking time, and that rebound effects towards greater amounts of cooking on multiple stoves are not sufficient to eliminate these gains. We also find, however, that households who have greater wealth, fewer members, are in less marginalized groups, and practice other health-averting behaviors, are more likely to use these cleaner stoves, which suggests that socio-economic status plays an important role in determining who benefits from such technologies. Future efforts to capture social benefits must therefore consider how to promote the use of alternative technologies by poor households, given that these households are least likely to own clean stoves.
Cookstove projects have long been considered "win-win" development projects based on the multitude of benefits they can create. Carbon credits provide a new financing mechanism to fund such cookstove projects, but have been criticized as not always successfully meeting sustainable development goals. By drawing on previous literature this article critically looks at trade-offs between the maximization of climate and health benefits of cookstove projects in the context of carbon credits. It finds that carbon credits inherently account for climate benefits, but not for health. Therefore, clear objectives of cookstove interventions need to be defined prior to project implementation to insure the maximization of benefits in projects' priority areas.
The opportunity to apply for carbon credits for cookstove projects creates a source of funding that can be leveraged to promote the 'win-win' environmental and development benefits of improved cookstoves. Yet, as in most environment-development efforts, unacknowledged tradeoffs exist under the all-encompassing 'win-win' claims. This study therefore compares different scenarios for calculating cookstove carbon credits, including comparing different types of stoves using different fuels, different methodologies and theoretical scenarios to account for a range of climate-relevant emissions. The results of the study highlight: 1) impacts of different assumptions made within carbon credit methodologies, 2) discussion around potential tradeoffs in such projects, and 3) considerations needed to truly promote sustainable development. The Gold Standard methodology was more comprehensive in its accounting and generally calculated more carbon credits per scenario than the Clean Development Mechanism methodology. Including black carbon in calculations would be more reflective of climate-relevant stove emissions and greatly increase the number of credits calculated. As health and other development benefits are not inherently included in carbon credit calculations, to achieve 'win-win' outcomes, deliberate decisions about project design need to be made to ensure objectives are met and not simply assumed.