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Cablegate: Fire in the Kitchen: Cook Stoves, Health and Global

VZCZCXRO3434
RR RUEHAST RUEHCHI RUEHDH RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHNH RUEHPB
RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBK #3072/01 3380940
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040940Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9181
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDC/NOAA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7754
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0034
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0001
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 5864

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 003072

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES; EAP, S/SECC
STATE PLEASE PASS TO EPA/OIA, DOE/PI, NOAA, NSF, USDA/FS
STATE PASS TO NSF/MMcAuliffe,PMazumder
USAID ANE/AA,ANE/TS,EGAT/AA,EGAT/ESP,EGAT/I&E,GH/AA , GH/MCH
PACOM FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY UNIT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ENRG EAGR KGHG KGCC SENV ASEAN SOCI TH

SUBJECT: FIRE IN THE KITCHEN: COOK STOVES, HEALTH AND GLOBAL
WARMING

REF: A) Ndjamena 0460; (B) Geneva 0367, 0360, 0349; (C) 08 Jakarta
1973

BANGKOK 00003072 001.3 OF 003

1. SUMMARY: The US/ASEAN Next Generation Cook Stove Workshop was
held at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok November 16-20.
Old cook stoves are a source of considerable indoor pollution and
accompanying health problems in the developing world, and the new
technologies showcased may offer good opportunities for future U.S.
development assistance. With interagency sponsorship, the workshop
brought together academics, inventors, manufacturers and donors to
discuss the state of the art in improved cook stove design,
performance, testing and distribution. Inventors and engineers
exhibited new features of the cook stoves, such as reduced fuel use,
cleaner burning mechanisms and appealing designs for marketing to
poor households in developing countries. Workshop discussions
focused on stove design, emissions testing protocols and new
approaches to scaling up programs that are aimed at improving health
locally and improving the environment globally. END SUMMARY.


------------------------
BACKGROUND: HEALTH RISKS
------------------------
2. More than three billion people use traditional cook stoves to
meet cooking and heating needs. Up to 95% of the rural population
in poor countries relies on solid fuels, including biomass and coal
for fuel. Biomass accounts for about 70% of total household fuel use
in Asia and coal accounts for 10%. While traditional stoves produce
air pollutants, improved cook stoves aim to increase fuel efficiency
while decreasing pollution. Smoke emission from traditional cook
stoves is the fourth highest health risk factor in poor countries.
According to the WHO, acute respiratory infections cause 17% of
deaths among children under five. Indoor air pollution caused by
burning biomass fuels and coal is linked to approximately one-third
of these fatal acute respiratory infections. About 500-600 million
improved household cook stoves are needed to replace the traditional
stoves currently in use.

-------------------------------
BACKGROUND: ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS
-------------------------------
3. Greenhouse gas emissions from traditional cook stoves are
increasingly significant. The incomplete combustion of biomass fuel
from traditional cook stoves releases black carbon, or soot, which
contributes to global warming. Globally, household combustion is
responsible for as much as half of all black carbon emissions from
human sources. In regions with mountain glaciers, such as the
Himalayas, black carbon emitted from burning biomass increases
glacial melting as black carbon settles on glaciers. A recent
estimate found that black carbon may account for as much as half of
Arctic warming.

------------------
COOKSTOVE WORKSHOP
------------------
4. Attendees at the U.S./ASEAN Next Generation Cook Stove Workshop
included climate scientists, engineers, cook stove manufacturers,
donors, and US government agencies, including State, USAID, the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE),
National Science Foundation (NSF)and various USG-sponsored
laboratories. EAP/RSP and the joint USAID/State-supported
ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility organized the
workshop with funding support from the National Science Foundation,
Air Force Research Laboratory, and sponsorship from Penn State,
UC-Berkeley, Clarkson University and the Asian Institute of
Technology. Various NGOs and firms that design, build and
distribute stoves came from Latin America, Africa and Asia - South,
East and Southeast. The four-day workshop focused on discussing new
technologies and bringing scientists together with donors and
non-governmental organizations.

-----------------------------
IMPROVED COOK STOVES PROGRAMS
-----------------------------
5. Cook stove interventions in the past aimed to improve health by
reducing indoor air pollution through decreasing smoke quantity,
diverting smoke outdoors, or reducing the length of human exposure

BANGKOK 00003072 002 OF 003


to smoke. India, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and other
countries have undertaken national improved stove programs. With
the exception of the Chinese effort (1983-1998) that resulted in the
distribution of 183 million stoves, most of those efforts resulted
in distributions that were well below the necessary saturation
levels. More recently, cook stove emissions were identified as a
contributor to climate change.

6. Although past programs did not aim to mitigate black carbon
emissions, new stove technologies can lower such emissions, some
even down to those equal to clean fuels emissions. There are now
many stove types, constructed from adobe, tin, and metal alloys, and
powered by wood and compressed biomass with more locally appropriate
designs. Improved cook stoves range in price from US$1 to several
thousand dollars, depending on functions, size and materials.
Manufacturers and inventors aim to increase adoption of improved
stoves by including beneficiaries in the design process. Combined
with a better understanding of private-public partnerships, there is
new potential to improve household cook stoves in use today to
achieve co-benefits in human health and environment.

7. Scale up of cook stove programs is another issue discussed at
length in the workshop. Despite recent breakthroughs in developing
cleaner burning, durable and affordable cook stoves, investment in
scientific and engineering research for improved cook stoves and
emissions testing is deficient. Capacity for stove development and
manufacturing at a local level is another challenge. In parts of
Asia, there is little technical manpower available exclusively for
improved stove programs. Regional and national level capacity
building is necessary to scale up. The manufacture of millions of
improved stoves will require partnerships among scientists, the
private sector and donors through a variety of innovative business
models. Many workshop experts noted that to achieve global health
and emissions goals, between 100 and 125 million efficient stoves
would need to be distributed each year.

------------
USG EFFORTS
------------
7. EPA has worked since 2002 through the Partnership for Clean
Indoor Air (PCIA) on improving cook stove technology. PCIA aims to
improve health, livelihood, and quality of life by reducing exposure
to air pollution, primarily among women and children, from household
energy use. The USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA),
in Bangkok, is undertaking a study on the causes and effects of
black carbon in the region with a focus on possible interventions,
including consideration of cook stove programs. (NOTE: the pending
Waxman-Markey legislation would establish useful standards that
might be helpful in future USG programming. The legislation defines
"improved" as reducing fuel consumption by 50% and black carbon
emissions by 60%, and reducing childhood pneumonia by 30%.
Investment in technology and scale-up would be needed to reach those
standards. End Note.)

------------------
CASE STUDY: DARFUR
------------------
8. Case studies from around the world, including India, Brazil,
Sudan and China were presented at the workshop; the Darfur program
was particularly dramatic. In 2006, with support from the USAID
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, scientists at the University
of California at Berkeley brought improved cook stoves to internally
displaced persons (IDP) in the Darfur region of Sudan. The IDPs
face severe fuel shortages for cooking and an increasingly larger
denuded zone around the camps from ongoing wood gathering for fuel.
Women and girls routinely risk rape and mutilation as they are
forced to venture farther away from the camps to gather fuel wood,
with typical trips lasting seven hours. Scientists at UC Berkeley
modified an existing cook stove design to create a stove that was
relevant to local cooking needs and that could be locally and
rapidly assembled. The improved cook stove burned 30% of the fuel
wood of the traditional fire previously used by the IDPs. With
inputs from women in the camps, the team of scientists further
improved the stove design, saving the refugees the equivalent of
$250 per year in fuel costs and reducing their risk of rape or
mutilation by decreasing the number of wood-gathering trips.

BANGKOK 00003072 003 OF 003


Approximately 5000 of these stoves are in use in Darfur, out of a
total need of 400,000 stoves. For this subsidized program, the
stoves cost $30 delivered but the women were charged $5; although
this was still expensive for IDPs in Darfur, the women bought the
stoves. Through this work, scientists learned that while
affordability is crucial to increasing uptake in purchase of
improved cook stoves, social acceptability is the key to adoption.

-------
COMMENT
-------
9. This multi-agency, multi-disciplinary workshop brought together
the tools to make improved cook stoves feasible; new data on health
and climate change impacts highlight the importance of and
opportunities for addressing cook stove emissions. The combination
of new designs, numerous manufacturers, new testing technology,
examples of successful distribution in Brazil, China and India all
suggest that the USG consider supporting cook stove programs to
reduce poverty and stimulate sustainable development. The most
appropriate scale and types of program interventions will require
careful coordination and deliberation among all USG agency
stakeholders. Future activities should take full consideration of
lessons learned from prior development assistance experience
associated with promoting improved cook stoves, particularly through
USAID.

-----------------------------
FURTHER INFORMATION AND EVENTS
-----------------------------
10. The complete set of conference materials will be available from
the Asian Institute of Technology at (www.ait.th); for a cd of
workshop presentations, contact regional ESTH Hub officer Hal
Howard, howardhh@state.gov, who can also supply the conference
report and road map when completed. The University of Iowa
organizes an annual cook stove conference in January, in Seattle:
contact Mark Bryden at kmbryden@iastate.edu. The Asia Regional
Cookstove Program (ARECOP) has set up a regional stove testing
center in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that will use the latest technology
to support stove development in Southeast Asia; contact Christina
Aristanti at Christina@arecop.org. For EPA's program, see
(www.pciaonline.org). Reftels describe cook stove issues from the
perspective of the WHO and other posts. For Darfur experiences, see
(www.darfurstoves.org).
JOHN

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