Making the Clean Available: Escaping India’s Chulha Trap

Citation:

Smith, Kirk R., and Ambuj D. Sagar. 2014. “Making the Clean Available: Escaping India’s Chulha Trap.” Energy Policy 75: 410–4.

Authors: Kirk R. Smith, Ambuj D. Sagar

Abstract:

Solid cookfuel pollution is the largest energy-related health risk globally and most important cause of ill-health for Indian women and girls. At 700 million cooking with open biomass chulhas, the Indian population exposed has not changed in several decades, in spite of hundreds of programs to make the “available clean”, i.e. to burn biomass cleanly in advanced stoves. While such efforts continue, there is need to open up another front to attack this health hazard. Gas and electric cooking, which are clean at the household, are already the choice for one-third of Indians. Needed is a new agenda to make the “clean available”, i.e., to vigorously extend these clean fuels into populations that are caught in the Chulha Trap. This will require engaging new actors including the power and petroleum ministries as well as the ministry of health, which have not to date been directly engaged in addressing this problem. It will have implications for LPG imports, distribution networks, and electric and gas user technologies, as well as setting new priorities for electrification and biofuels, but at heart needs to be addressed as a health problem, not one of energy access, if it is to be solved effectively.

Keywords: household energy ladder, cooking fuel, household air pollution, energy access, LPG, biomass stoves

Topics: Development, Economies, Environment, Women, Girls, Health, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2014

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