Cookstoves and Carbon Credits
Take a region where charcoal is the cooking fuel of choice, switch it out for a cleaner burning fuel that doesn't contribute to global warming quite so dramatically, then, somehow, track the whole thing accurately enough that itâ€™s possible to measure the tons of emissions the switch represents.
Finally, sell the avoided tons on a carbon market to companies that are looking to offset their own over-indulgence or maybe organizations that want to be carbon negative, doing their part to reduce global warming. The calculations had better be accurate or else those credits will not be worth very much in the long run.
At their best, cookstove carbon credit projects like these are lauded for their co-benefits â€“ not only do the cleaner stoves reduce the global warming potential of the cooking method, but they also reduce soot which means lower asthma rates (and cleaner homes â€“ of great benefit to the women who have to clean up after dinner). Done right, a project like this can even jumpstart a new local sustainable business like CleanStar Mozambique.
However, the reputation of these types of projects has suffered in recent years due to allegations of double-counting by both the organizations that buy the stoves and the organizations that deliver them. Market participants have been subject to tough questions about how many of the delivered stoves are actually in use, how many actually replaced a dirty charcoal stove instead of another cooking implement, and how long the stoves actually stay in use. Are the credits still being counted long after the stove has been abandoned? These questions mostly plague the voluntary market, where there are many standards, but little overall regulation.
Cookstove image credit: http://cookstoves.lbl.gov/haiti.php
Article continues at ENN Affiliate TriplePundit.