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New Push for Clean Wood Stoves to Save Lives, the Planet

Indian Cook Stove

Primitive cooking stoves kill nearly two million people every year, according to the World Health Organization, and place second only to industrial fossil fuels in contributing to global warming.

The New York Times reports that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton today will announce a new initiative aimed at providing 100 million clean-burning stoves to poor communities in Africa, Asia and South America by the year 2020.

Anywhere from 500 million to 3 billion people are estimated to regularly use primitive wood or biomass-burning stoves.

Attention to this neglected health issue is welcome news, but it isn’t necessarily going to be a simple matter to find the right stove (as this excellent New Yorker article describes) or get them distributed. And as the NYT article notes, reaching 100 million by 2020 means only solving a fraction of the problem.


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.