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Cookstoves contribute to outdoor Air Pollution and have a significant impact on Climate change: Scientists

An estimated 40 percent of the global population use cookstoves that burn solid fuels such as wood

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FILE - A woman in India is uses a cookstove that produces less smoke for burning wood or any other fuel. VOA

US, Jan 26, 2017: A new study finds that cookstoves, used for cooking and heating inside homes in many developing countries, contribute to outdoor air pollution and have a significant impact on climate change.

An estimated 40 percent of the global population use cookstoves that burn solid fuels such as wood. Most studies of cookstoves focus on the health impacts in and around homes where they are used. Those reports show that up to a half-million people are thought to die every year as a result of inhaling fine particulate matter and soot emitted by cookstoves into outdoor air.

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Now, a new study looks at the air quality and climate impacts of cookstoves on a global scale.

Scientists at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, used satellites owned by the U.S. space agency NASA, along with supercomputers that modeled cookstove pollution country by country.

Results showed that cookstoves used in Baltic countries like Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan had an enormous impact on climate change, according to Forrest Lacey, co-author of the study, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In general, it’s more of the northern latitude countries,” Lacey said. “So that’s why we’re seeing like the central Asian countries and Ukraine or Romania, because they actually get a lot of transport on the snow of black carbon, which has an amplified warming impact.”

Impact on Arctic

Some of these carbon deposits can blow as far north as the Arctic, which is experiencing the greatest climate impact caused by greenhouse gases.

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The use of cookstoves in populous countries like India and China also has a huge impact on climate change because of the sheer numbers of stoves that are used. But reducing the use of cookstoves in the Baltics, said the authors, would have the greatest benefit in terms of improving climate and air quality.

NGOs hope to distribute millions of clean stoves around the world this year, according to Lacey, making a sizeable dent in the estimated 100 million cookstoves that are used globally.

Not only would a large-scale reduction in solid fuel cookstoves improve local air quality, said the authors, it would benefit the global climate, too. (VOA)

Next Story

Chile’s Southern Patagonia Ice Field Split in Two, Continue to Fracture Amid Climate Change

The chunk of ice that split off from the main glacier was estimated at 208 square kilometers (80.3 square miles), a relatively small part of the ice field

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Chunks of ice break off the Perito Moreno Glacier in Lake Argentina at Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate, in Argentina's Patagonia region, March 10, 2016. VOA

Chile’s 12,000 square kilometer (4,633 square mile) Southern Patagonia Ice Field split in two and is likely to continue to fracture amid climate change, according to a team of Chilean scientists who were in the region in March.

Gino Casassa, chief of the Snow and Glacier Division of Chile’s DGA water authority, told Reuters increasing temperatures along the Andes Mountains in southern Chile and Argentina have meant less snow and ice to replenish the region’s abundant glaciers.

“What occurred is a fracture as the ice has retreated, Casassa said.

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Andes Mountains in southern Chile and Argentina have meant less snow and ice to replenish the region’s abundant glaciers. Pixabay

The chunk of ice that split off from the main glacier was estimated at 208 square kilometers (80.3 square miles), a relatively small part of the ice field.

But Casassa said it may be a sign of things to come. The ice field, he said, is now “split in two, and we’ll likely discover further divisions to the south,” he said.

Two icebergs broke off the Grey Glacier in southern Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park earlier this year, adding to fears that such ruptures are becoming more frequent. (VOA)