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Darfur cookstove project brings economic, health benefits

Ten thousand efficient cookstoves are being delivered to communities in Darfur, saving more than 300,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years and bringing other benefits, such as a lower cost for fuel and less smoky homes. 

By Megan RowlingThomson Reuters Foundation / February 20, 2014

A women stands next to an energy-efficient LPG cookstove in El Fasher, Darfur, Sudan. A micro-finance program will help poor families afford the new cookstoves. Using charcoal costs a household around $33.50 per month, while using LPG costs roughly $11.70 per month.

Courtesy of Carbon Clear

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An efficient cookstoves project in Darfur has been issued with Sudan’s first-ever carbon credits, in an effort to boost climate finance reaching poorer countries.

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The Gold Standard, a major certification body for carbon offsets, said the project – started in 2007 by Carbon Clear, a UK-based carbon management firm, and development agency Practical Action – will allow families in North Darfur to replace their traditional wood and charcoal fires with modern, energy-efficient, and cleaner-burning LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cookstoves.       

Ten thousand cookstoves are being delivered to communities in El Fasher, which will save more than 300,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years, the Gold Standard said. The stoves are also expected to bring social, economic, and health benefits, such as less smoky homes.  

People in El Fasher, a large town, usually buy charcoal and wood from vendors called zaribas, often on a daily basis. Using charcoal costs a household around £20 ($33.50) per month, while using LPG costs roughly £7 ($11.70) per month. But the initial cost of the stove and the LPG canister can put families off switching.

This barrier to uptake is being overcome through a micro-loan scheme operated by local womens' associations and funded by carbon finance, according to Carbon Clear.

The carbon credits for the project in Darfur – which has suffered years of conflict between government-backed militia and rebels from the vast west Sudanese state – are also the first to be issued using new rules developed for verifying projects in conflict zones and refugee camps, work that has been partly funded by the German government.

The Gold Standard said it has been working on approaches to increase the flow of carbon finance to the world's poorest countries, where prohibitive implementation costs have made micro-scale projects that cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions unviable.

"It is essential that carbon finance reaches poorer countries, regions, and communities – and it must deliver both climate and development outcomes," Gold Standard CEO Adrian Rimmer said in a statement, adding that the new rules would help drive finance into "thousands more" such projects.

The organization said it has also changed its procedures to cut implementation costs for small community projects and has launched a formal "Sustainable Development Accreditation Scheme."  

Since then, 12 multi-technology, multi-country programs across Asia, Africa, and Latin America have been submitted to The Gold Standard for approval, and the first of these are due to issue carbon credits later this year.

Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear, said the pioneering carbon finance project in Sudan "demonstrates how businesses can successfully reduce GHG emissions and make a positive contribution to communities."

The Gold Standard was established in 2003 by WWF and has more than 80 NGO partners worldwide. It enables individuals, corporations, and governments to buy carbon credits against verified emission reductions and sustainable-development outcomes, and has channeled billions of euros into 1,000 low-carbon development projects over the past 10 years, it said.       

This article originally appeared at Thomson Reuters Foundation, a source of news, information, and connections for action. It provides programs that trigger change, empower people, and offer concrete solutions.

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