What caught our eye - three key stories (week 9, 2024)
Sustainability. Strategy. Finance.

What caught our eye - three key stories (week 9, 2024)

Scaling access to cleaner stoves; lower gas prices and sustainability; more sustainable shift to EVs

Here are three stories that we found particularly interesting this week and why. We also give our lateral thought on each one.

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Scaling up access to electric cooking services in Tanzania

According to the IEA, 2.3 billion people or nearly one third of the global population cook their meals over open fires or basic cook stoves. The fuels used are typically firewood, agricultural waste, charcoal, coal, kerosene and even animal dung. All of these emit harmful smoke, often in enclosed spaces, that is unhealthy for their users. Household air pollution is the third leading cause of premature death globally among women and children, and the second in Africa, concentrated in countries with a high reliance on biomass and coal for cooking.

But it is not just the smoke. The leading cause of childhood poisonings is the accidental ingestion of kerosene. A large proportion of the severe burns and injuries occurring in low- and middle-income countries are linked to household energy use for cooking, heating and lighting. And it disproportionately impacts women and children.

Therefore a shift to cleaner cooking stoves would have clear health benefits and be good for the environment - reducing methane and other gas emissions, as well as saving trees from being cut down for firewood. But that shift costs money - the IEA estimates US$ 8 billion per year with investment needing to grow from roughly US$ 2.5 billion currently. Most of the growth is needed in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where an estimated 900 million people use inefficient wood and charcoal stoves and affordability is a clear problem. Almost three quarters of SSA's energy demand comes from woodfuels used for cooking.

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