Sustainable use of clean cooking technology reduces carbon emission

BY JOSEPH MIZIMBE - Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) says there is need for concerted stakeholders’ efforts towards promoting climate change mitigation and reduction of greenhouse carbon emission. The carbon emission is produced by among others, cooking using firewood, charcoal and other unclean sources of energy.

The Department singled out promotion of efficient use of clean cook-stoves (chitetezo mbaula and rocket stoves), Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and biogas as some of the technologies that can save and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that causes global warming hence climate change.

In an interview with The Messenger Media, EAD Senior Environmental Officer Chimwemwe Yonasi says, Government produced a National Climate Change Management Policy (2016) a strategic framework that aims at coordinated and harmonized approach in in climate change management. The Policy promotes sustainable use of clean energy to curb GHG emissions.

Yonasi discloses that as one way of enhancing the mitigation of carbon emission, Malawi Government has put in place ‘actions’ that the country is using to mitigate  and adapt to climate change  between 2015 and 2040 through ‘Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). He adds, these ‘actions’ were submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as (UNFCCC) as commitments that Government will undertake to contribute towards the global goal of reducing of limiting carbon emissions to  1.5 Degrees Celsius. With necessary support Malawi can reduce its carbon footprint by 51 percent by the year 2040. 

The implementation of NDCs is done in collaboration with sectors such as Energy, Agriculture, Transport, Mining, Forestry, with each sector having specific roles to play, all aimed at reducing carbon emission.

Yonasi says, the NDCs has targets, the first covering the period 2015-2020 which saw distribution of two million cook-stoves by 2021. The NDC has a new target of 5 million  to be realized by the year 2030 in the NDC. 

“Moving towards 2030, we expect to have  reached seven million households with cook-stoves. This will further reduce greenhouse gas emission in the country,” he articulates. 

The Senior Environmental Officer insinuates, clean cooking technologies promote ‘carbon trading’ which is bought in monetary values. Malawi benefits in carbon trading socially, health-wise and economically. Socially, more women no longer travel long distances to fetch firewood instead they use cook-stoves; health-wise, rescue women from contracting respiratory or pulmonary diseases spread by poisonous gas released from charcoal blazers and firewood- lung cancer, asthma among others; and economically, people spend less on clean cooking technologies.

“What actually happen with carbon trading is that rich countries buy carbon, for instance, an NGO can partner with a Swedish Government on understanding that the European country should provide funds for the organization to use for raising awareness on the need to mitigate climate change adoption, or providing clean cooking technologies to communities,” Yonasi explains.

A good example of this arrangement could be that of a Lilongwe based NGO, Community Energy Malawi (CEM) which is implementing a project called ‘Phikani Moganizira Chilengedwe’ with support from the Japanese Government through UNDP Malawi Office. The project’s aim is to accelerate adoption of clean cooking technologies and it has three deliverables; one of which is to deliver Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), biogas and clean cook stoves to 2,700 households in Lilongwe and Zomba cities.

To further mitigate carbon emission, the Government registered about five projects in in cleaner cooking only spanning from the year 2013 under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).  Overall government has registered 11 CDM projects

“Clean cooking has the potential to generate ‘Carbon Credits’ though clean cooking programmes under CDM and ‘Voluntary Mechanism’. Voluntary mechanism is an obligation by an organization to offset carbon emission through, for example, tree planting while CDM is a compliance mechanism under UN-CCC to reduce carbon emission,” he expounds.

Under Voluntary Mechanism, there are public and private institutions in the country that support or directly involved in tree planting, provision of clean cooking technologies, produce environmental-friendly products or use environmental-friendly machinery.

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