Stimulating the transition to low carbon cooking solutions in rural India
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Traditional cooking is done by a large share of the Indian rural population and has many negative impacts. Emissions of PICs cause health problems, high CO2-emissions contribute to global climate change and the time consumption and drudgery of women from fuel collection and cooking holds back their development. This thesis is aimed at finding solutions for the rural poor to make a transition towards improved cooking technologies. Several technologies are available to replace the traditional mud stove. Solar cookers require a large shift in culture and biogas stoves require expensive biogas installations, which makes these technologies less suitable for the rural poor in India. Kerosene and LPG stoves are used in larger numbers and have the best performance in terms of indoor air pollution reductions. Improved biomass stoves (IC’s) are the best method in terms of cost-benefits and CO2-emissions, and are available in natural draft stoves and forced draft stoves that include an electric battery. Financial mechanisms should be in place to realize a transition by the rural poor. Microfinance and credit models provide the opportunity to pay off the high upfront costs in smaller terms. However, the full amount still has to be paid and high interest rates can be charged. Carbon finance can reduce the total costs a household has to pay by selling carbon credits, but has the disadvantage that the time lag between a project’s start and the moment of credit issuance is at least two years and extensive monitoring is needed which is time-consuming and costly. An analysis of general literature on stove programs, literature on past and current programs, interviews of recently developed programs and field interviews was done to find the technology appropriateness, environmental, economic and sociocultural aspects that influence the success or failure of a stove program. This results in a generic framework of success and failure factors for the evaluation of stove programs in India that can be adjusted for worldwide use. Applying this framework to the new Indian stove program, the NCI, it was found that the program has the potential to become successful with large scale coverage if the government does not leave too much of the responsibilities with the industry and state government. If CDM can be realized, carbon credits can replace the initial subsidies from the moment of issuance.