Improved Stoves Combat Climate Change

If you have traveled in rural Africa, you’ve seen smoke coming from the small houses and backyards of most families. In fact, it is not uncommon to see wood fires and stoves used throughout cities as well.  Cooking with wood as fuel contributes to family health problems, particularly for women and children. Cooking with wood fuel also contributes to deforestation as people cut trees to provide the fuel.

Now a new study finds that black carbon, which is mostly “soot” formed in the combustion of wood and fuels such as diesel and kerosene, is the second most important contributor to global climate change.

Efforts throughout Sub Saharan Africa and the developing world have thus far primarily focused on the health and the deforestation effects of burning wood.  The black particles emitted contribute to heart and respiratory disease.  Deforestation leads to land and water degradation and the loss of wildlife. Now, the contribution of millions of cook fires to global climate change is clear.

Providing more efficient stoves is a priority of the Aid for Africa member African Rainforest Conservancy, which supports projects in the forested mountain and coastal areas of Tanzania.  Such stoves have cut wood fuel use in half. Solar cookers, which use only the sun to heat foods, are also in areas of Africa that have plentiful sunshine. Aid for Africa member Solar Cookers International supports solar cooker development in Africa and throughout the world.

Reducing soot emissions from wood-burning stoves and open cooking fires improves health, preserves forests, and now science suggests also helps protect the earth from warming.  As the second contributor to global warming, eliminating soot will go a long way to mitigating climate change.

Learn more about Aid for Africa members working to improve the environment.

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Aid for Africa is an alliance of 85 U.S.-based nonprofits and their African partners who help children, families, and communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Aid for Africa’s grassroots programs focus on health, education, economic development, arts & culture, conservation, and wildlife protection in Africa.

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M.2 years ago

Encouraging to see efforts taken to improve this issue.Thansk for the information.

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e.2 years ago


Jude Hand
Judith Hand2 years ago

Good to know more about something for which I "click". Aid To Africa is impressing me more and more as I read of the organizations that work within it; tx!

Ana R2 years ago

all it takes is 350 butterfly credits...

Lydia Price

Please give us an option to redeem butterfly credits for solar stoves, thank you.

Christine Jones
Christine Jones2 years ago

I would love to have a solar cooker. As I sit here sweating in our Western Australian 40 degree celsius heat, it seems to make perfect sense. Plus no more gas bills.

Autumn S.
Autumn Away S.2 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Victoria McFarlane
Past Member 2 years ago

Very good. Thanks.