The Gold Standard has verified the world’s first clean cooking offset project, run by cook stove manufacturer Burn Manufacturing. The stoves, which rely on biomass, are used by millions of people in Africa, and in other developing regions, but often emit dangerously high levels of pollutants. The new offset programme involves providing users with cleaner, more efficient cook stoves in return for carbon credits. Tested under strict International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) guidelines, the stoves use less carbon fuel, emit less black carbon and cook food more quickly. As a result, the project will cut 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over seven years.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that 2.7 billion people worldwide still rely on polluting and inefficient fuel sources for cooking, and it has been argued that providing cleaner stoves is an essential aspect of addressing emissions in developing countries. A recent report from Climate Advisers, the African Development Bank and the Environmental Defense Fund calculated that if half of Africa’s biomass-burning cook stoves were replaced with modern, efficient stoves, there would be a net reduction of about 100 million tonnes of CO2 over five years. Last year, Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty (COTAP) launched a project that offers a convenient way to carbon offset every household in rural or urban Africa that uses a traditional cook stove. The need for cleaner stoves was recognised in the UNFCCC Paris Climate Agreement.