Cook stoves

“ Improving the bio-mass based cook stoves used by more than 2 billion bottom-of-the-pyramid people globally is not a merely technology issue. It needs human face”, said Rajendra Shende Chairman of TERRE, India based think-tank while releasing a policy paper, ‘Future of Cook stoves: Review and recommendations’.

After decades of efforts by governments, voluntary organizations and even the well known academic institutes the widespread use of improved, smokeless and energy-efficient cooking stoves still remains a distant dream for the poverty ridden population who have no option but to use the rudimentary biomass based cook stoves. As a result, one of the oldest and technologically most simple cooking methods ever developed by civilization mostly continues with its perennially archaic status quo.

Women and children are the most suffered section of the society due to their time lost in collecting the biomass from forest as well as due to local and indoor pollution caused by incomplete combustion. The World Health Organization says that about 1.5 million people die each year from lung diseases as a result of pollutants from burning firewood. Ecosystem continues to degrade due to indiscriminate deforestation depriving all of us from natural carbon-sink.

The small emissions from each of the millions of cooking stoves now form into what is known as “Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) ” that absorbs as well as scatters incoming solar radiation, leading to climate change, global warming and other impacts.

Good news is that the national and international efforts for improved cook stoves continue to address this daunting task. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its Climate Change and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) along with its partners spread across the globe have renewed its efforts on the issue.

The policy paper attempts to provide key suggestions based on field research and interaction with the present users, technology suppliers and decision makers. The paper identifies the barriers-many of which are overlooked by zealous technocrats-and makes recommendation to overcome those barriers and goes beyond technology based solutions.

“ In my childhood, I have experienced for years cooking stoves that used fire wood, saw dust, briquettes and experienced the indoor pollution,” said Mr. Shende. “TERRE hopes that these suggestions and recommendations in the policy paper would help in setting the real change for the global efforts for the improved cook stoves’, added Mr. Shende.

Policy Paper can be read on:



Author: Moreshwar Hude, Project Leader at TERRE and Doctorate student and Research Technologist on Bio-energy, reviewed and guided by Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE and former Director UNEP.

TERRE Policy Technology Centre is India based think-tank engaged in energy and food security issues. Evidence based policymaking and piloting the trend setting project concepts are its priorities.

More information on the TERRE:

      TERRE Policy Centre   Technology, Education, Research and Rehabilitation for Environment

To Think is good, to Act is better

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is launched by UNEP in 2012, is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, private sector, and civil society to catalyze rapid reduction of Short Lived Climate Pollutants to protect human health and mitigate climate change.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) – These pollutants include black carbon or soot, methane, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are responsible for a substantial fraction of both the global warming experienced to date and the current rate of global warming. More information on the CCAC and SLCP :

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