By: Josephine Aku Selorm Gator
Climate change is becoming increasingly worrisome in recent times affecting almost every aspect of our lives.
Taking urgent action to combat its impacts is the key to achieving a resilient world free of the negative impacts.
In addressing issues of climate change we sideline issues thought to be less important, but are major contributors to it. Cooking is one of the things we often do not hear in the climate change discourse.
Cooking is an essential aspect of our existence as humans to maintain our health.
Nevertheless, cooking can go wrong, have diverse effects on our health and environment, if the right cooking methods are not employed.
The use of wood as cooking fuels has been in existence since the evolution of humans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) "around three billion people still cook using solid fuels (such as wood, crop wastes, charcoal, coal and dung) and kerosene in open fires and inefficient stoves. Most of these people are poor, and live in low- and middle-income countries".
A publication on "Public Health Effects of Wood Fuel in Africa" also established that globally, about 2.8 million people depend on solid wood fuel energy.
Prominent in developing countries, more than 70% of households in Sub Saharan Africa depend on wood energy. Some processes of cooking are also unclean and inefficient, as well as harmful to health and the environment.
Cooking with unclean and inefficient fuels which is classified as household air pollution (HAP), apart from having a harmful effect on our health is one of the major climate change pollutants.
The International and local authorities are striving for the global adoption of clean cooking fuel. Clean cooking fuel such as biogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), electricity, natural gas is vital in mitigating the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.
Although classified as an efficient way of cooking and reducing the emissions of black carbon into the atmosphere, clean cooking fuel isn't accessible and affordable to many particularly those in developing parts of the world.
The use of clean cooking fuel can speed socio-economic development, mitigate climate change and promote air quality in cities and countries; however, countries have to integrate climate change measures and renewable energy technologies into policies and planning.
Ensuring universal access to clean fuel and technologies is a global target of the Sustainable Development Goal on affordable and clean energy (SDG 7).
Achieving this goal could prevent millions of deaths and improve the health, the well-being of the billions of people relying on polluting technologies and fuels for cooking, heating and lighting as well as fighting climate change.
In realising that goal 7 on Affordable and clean energy, together with goal 13 on Climate action is achieved by 2030 as projected by the UN, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources must all collaborate to create strategies and policies that will harness cost-effective renewable energy that's accessible and affordable to all to mitigate the impact of climate change.
It will be in the interest of all to "have a world in which we have clean energy for everyone and emissions from no one".