Energy Efficient Stoves Make Impact on Ugandan Environment
The worldwide effort to reduce carbon emissions is having a profound effect on the type of stoves used in Uganda. Carbon financing has allowed on small company to produce and provide efficient cooking stoves to Ugandans, saving money, resources and the environment. Ugastove, a thriving producer of energy efficient stoves based in Kampala, has provided over 300,000 homes with their product. The stoves “have a thick clay lining that holds in the heat of burning charcoal and cooks food more efficiently…[and] use only half as much fuel as conventional stoves, saving a family the equivalent of 80 dollars a year.” The stove’s reduced charcoal usage is also making a significant impact on the environment as “more than 98 percent of Ugandans rely on charcoal or firewood as an energy source.” A reduction in the consumption of these resources has the potential so save “tens of thousands of hectares of trees.”
Although the promise of more efficient stoves is great, Ugastove has had to find creative ways to overcome the challenges of selling a more expensive product to those with limited resources. Although a more efficient stove saves the user a significant amount in fuel costs, many household find it difficult or impossible to make the initial investment – a Ugastove costs about $26 (US) while a more traditional stove sells for only 2 US dollars. The company has begun to overcome this difficulty by finding support from carbon finance or “credit for the emissions reductions” to make the stoves more affordable. A nonprofit organization, “Impact Carbon,” which “specializes in quantifying emissions reductions and developing business models” for carbon reduction projects responded to the call and has aided Ugastove in selling carbon credits for its work. After successfully meeting Impact Carbon’s requirements, including “monthly and quarterly spot-checks on the sales, production, inventory records of Ugastoves…[as well as] quarterly kitchen surveys in households which use Ugastove to determine the stove’s fuel efficiency in the kitchen conditions,” the company has gained recognition from the Gold Standard Foundation which “operates a certification scheme for carbon credits” and has allowed the company to begin selling carbon credits to international corporations.
Ugastove has now sold credits to the luxury car manufacturer, Land Rover, at a rate of “nine dollars for every ton of CO2 offset by one of their units.” The company has been able to significantly increase production and lower the costs of the stoves to eight dollars with the money gained from selling the carbon credits. This is not to mention the offset of the emissions generated by Land Rovers which can be achieved by provided two families with the more efficient stoves for every one vehicle on the road. Many Ugastove users are also happy with the new efficient stoves which allow them to save money on fuel costs after the initial investment. Less fuel consumption is also saving the country’s forests as the demand for wood and other biomass decreases.
Reference: Michael, Wambi. “Stoves Saving On Fuel to Save Forests.” Inter Press Service. AllAfrica.com, 16 May 2011. Web. <http://allafrica.com/stories/201105161842.html>.
An article from the UN titled “World’s poorest countries better placed for transition to green economy – UN report”: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38317&Cr=least+developed&Cr1=
A short documentary on the impact of Energy Efficient Stoves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd9ynVHAIFM
An Article from Pambazuka News titled “The Hype Versus the Reality of Carbon Markets”: http://allafrica.com/stories/201105130703.html
1. Who do you think benefits the most from projects like this?
2. Do you think the initial investment of more energy efficient and environmentally friendly products is a deterrent for their use? Is this true for rich communities, poor communities or both? Can you think of any creative ways to offset the initial cost?
3. Is the responsibility to reduce carbon emissions on more developed countries or developing countries? Can an appropriate and fair partnership be reached?