Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Clean Cooking: Why is Adoption Slow Despite Large Health and Environmental Benefits?

More than one-third of the world’s population, mainly the low-income group, still rely on traditional biomass fuels for household cooking. The indoor air pollution from household cooking is one of the main drivers of child mortality in developing countries. It also causes deforestation and emissions of black carbon. A large number of studies show that the benefits of clean cooking, including health and environmental benefits and value of time savings from fuelwood collection, are much higher than the cost of adoption of clean cooking. Over the last four decades, several programs and initiatives have been launched by governments and non-governmental organizations in many developing countries with the help of multilateral and bilateral donor agencies to adopt clean cooking. Two common options adopted are improved-cookstoves and cleaner fuels. However, the adoption of clean cooking has been very slow. This paper discusses the main factors responsible for the slow adoption of clean cooking. We present an extensive review of empirical literature for this purpose. We find that lack of information or awareness, low household income or affordability, and human behavior and social factors are the main barriers to expedite the adoption of clean cooking in developing countries. Finally, we offer some innovative approaches to promote clean cooking policies and programs.
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Keywords: Clean cooking, technology adoption, household energy

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.9.1.gtim

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Published in Volume 10, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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