Why solar cookers really matter
One of the main causes of climate change is fuelwood collection for cooking as the New York Times noted that “soot from tens of thousands of villages in developing countries is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming“.
Furthermore, deforestation aggravates poverty in many ways as soils deprived from their forests loose their nutrients when they are washed away by the rain and as girls can’t get a basic education if they collect wood.
So when cheap solar solutions like the Kyoto Box are available, one have to hope they will soon be used in thousands of households.
First let us consider seriously the issue at hand as the New York Times provides us with a great article:
In Kohlua, in central India, with no cars and little electricity, emissions of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming, are near zero. But soot — also known as black carbon — from tens of thousands of villages like this one in developing countries is emerging as a major and previously unappreciated source of global climate change.
While carbon dioxide may be the No. 1 contributor to rising global temperatures, scientists say, black carbon has emerged as an important No. 2, with recent studies estimating that it is responsible for 18 percent of the planet’s warming, compared with 40 percent for carbon dioxide. Decreasing black carbon emissions would be a relatively cheap way to significantly rein in global warming — especially in the short term, climate experts say.
Replacing primitive cooking stoves with modern versions that emit far less soot could provide a much-needed stopgap, while nations struggle with the more difficult task of enacting programs and developing technologies to curb carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
In fact, reducing black carbon is one of a number of relatively quick and simple climate fixes using existing technologies — often called “low hanging fruit” — that scientists say should be plucked immediately to avert the worst projected consequences of global warming.
“It is clear to any person who cares about climate change that this will have a huge impact on the global environment,” said Dr. Ramanathan, a professor of climate science at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who is working with the Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi on a project to help poor families acquire new stoves.
Luckily for us all, great solutions exist. The Kyoto Box is one of them. Here is what Ecogeek wrote about it:
(…) a $6.60 solar cooker called the Kyoto Box won the Financial Times Climate Change Contest and $75,000 from Hewlett-Packard to get the idea into production.
The Kyoto Box is made from insulating two cardboard boxes, one stacked inside the other, with straw or newspaper, placing foil inside the first box and then painting the inside of the second box black. An acrylic cover tops off the design.
The very simple and cheap design is already being produced in Nairobi and the maker Jon Bøhner hopes that it will cut down on the use of firewood for cooking, which would slow deforestation and reduce carbon emissions and indoor pollution throughout Africa. The box can boil 10 liters of water in two hours for cooking or for purifying.
Other fantastic solar cooker exists. TreeHugger published an article with no less than 10 solar cooking solutions.
To conclude: instead of thinking of sci fi stuff like this space based solar power satellite program, we definitively should fund a global program to enable developing countries to shift to these great solar cookers.
Doing so would help us achieving a truly sustainable development as we would improve the environment, the society and the economy.