Getting simple $5 stoves into the hands of the billions of poor people in the world who still rely on open fires for cooking, heating and lighting would deliver a double-punch, combating both global warming and energy injustices at the same time.
Their stoves, which vary in size from that of a paint can to an oil drum and sell for as little as $5, let villagers use 50 percent less wood, reducing tree-cutting.
The stoves emit 80 percent less smoke, cutting respiratory harm that the World Health Organization identifies as a major factor in child deaths.
“Climate change is accelerated by deforestation, the cutting and burning of the wood,” said Stuart Conway, 56, co-founder and international operations director for TWP.
The stoves also battle black carbon emissions — or soot — which is one of the least talked about major drivers of global warming. Black carbon not only absorbs heat directly from the sun and heat reflected off the Earth, but it can travel thousands of miles on air currents before settling to the ground. And when the soot settles on ice or snow, it speeds melting.
Charring chicken poop probably won’t save the planet on its own, but some people think charring fowl manure along with beetle-killed pine trees, corn husks and other organic matter might be an important weapon in the war on greenhouse gases. And a lot of the people who think that are hanging around Boulder this week.
Biochar — a fancy name for charcoal, more or less — is what’s left when organic matter is burned in a low-oxygen environment. And when you don’t have oxygen, you can’t make carbon dioxide. So after the burn, you’re left with biochar, which stays stable for a thousand years, locking up that pesky globe-warming carbon in a big black chunk. And as a bonus, the biochar makes an excellent fertilizer when added to agricultural fields. Read more