Journal Article - June 2021

Efficient biomass cooking in Africa for climate change mitigation and development

Gunther Bensch, Marc Jeuland, Jörg Peters
Nearly three billion people continue to use woodfuels for their daily cooking. The global policy discourse increasingly emphasizes clean fuels, notably gas and electricity, but these are expensive, and their supply chains typically interrupted, especially in rural areas. As an alternative, this paper shows that fuel-efficient biomass stoves could contribute climate mitigation potentials in Sub-Saharan Africa that today exceed the total CO2-equivalent emissions of a medium-sized European country. Abatement costs of these solutions are low at $2 to $10 per ton CO2 equivalent. Furthermore, we highlight where emissions are greatest and demonstrate that cooking-related emissions may double by 2050. We argue that a rapid dissemination policy should be based on two crucial steps. First, fuel-efficient stoves should be field-tested region by region and adapted to satisfy local cooking needs. Second, cookstoves that have proven to be adopted by users should be heavily subsidized at scale to accelerate uptake.