CQ Researcher: Climate Change: Is tougher action needed to slow rising temperatures?Clemmitt’s article reviews the seriousness of climate change and the irreversibility of the impacts of carbon emissions in light of actions taken by governments around the world, and finds their efforts to be lacking in terms of the possible impact on slowing or delaying climate change. If efforts are not raised significantly, with all possible reductions in climate emissions, the planet may be doomed.

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EBSCO Academic Search: “Biomass Smoke and Rural Health: Indian Women are at Risk”
This editorial in an academic journal with regard to biosafety and health by Mondal points out that as Asia, Africa and Latin America rely on wood and biofuel energy for cooking and energy, billions of tons of biomass are burned annually contributing to air pollution and climate change. Mondal cites poverty as the main reason for using biofuels which have high pollution but low combustibility and burning efficiency. The smoke from biofuels contain particulate that is smaller than many fossil fuels, making it harmful to those near fires for cooking, particularly women and children.

News Sources: “Biofuels cause pollution, not as green as thought – study”
Climate change impacts developing nations unfairly, creating extreme weather, flooding and other disasters. The use of biofuels for food in developing nations is a further contributor to climate change. While it wood fires are considered to be better in terms of carbon emissions than fossil fuels as there is a lower net contribution, it continues to cause air pollution and damage to the environment which has an impact on health. The study found that certain trees such as poplar, eucalyptus and willow trees produce toxic emissions of isoprene, which contributes to ozone in the air, simply while growing. Ozone is a cause of mortality due to respiratory problems, but it is a further danger due to it being a major contributor to climate change.

Additional EBSCO Source: “Effects of Unsustainable Use of Biomass Energy for Cooking and Strategies for Their Reduction in Developing Countries
The use of wood and other biofuels for cooking in developing nations is inefficient and unsustainable, but it is the only option for the poor in developing nations. The smoke from the fire has negative health impacts, but one approach which has potential is the use of processed cleaner biomass fuel as well as more efficient stoves and ovens that ensure that the biofuels that are used are used efficiently.

Problem and Solution
Climate change is an issue which is composed of many problems, and one of these is meeting the needs of a growing population in the developing world which would like to improve living standards at the very same time that the reduction of carbon emissions is critical to the sustainability of life on Earth. Raising standards of living necessarily involves an increase in energy consumption as incomes grow. This is in addition to carbon emissions such as the wood and coal fueled fires used to cook and heat foods in the developing world; even if incomes were not to increase, the increasing population of the developing nations would ensure an increase in air pollution and emissions related to this practice. Sources found confirm the seriousness of the problem of cooking using biofuels in the developing world and the potential for lowered air pollution and carbon emissions.

One solution is for the developed world to invest in the subsidy of stoves and ovens in the developing world. This might be through research and development or through a direct subsidy. The oven may burn fuel more efficiently or they may be based on an alternative clean energy source. More research will be necessary to determine the best and most affordable models of efficient stoves. The final solution might be a wood stove which operates more efficiently, or it may be a solar oven. More than one oven solution might be needed in order to meet different needs in different regions and cultures. This solution is predicated on their being a business case for developed nations to want to invest in reduction of air pollution in developing nations, and refining this argument will also take additional research.

  • Bolaji, Bukola Olalekan. “Effects of Unsustainable Use of Biomass Energy for Cooking and Strategies for Their Reduction in Developing Countries.” Developing Country Studies 2.3, EBSCO. (2012): 19-25.
  • Clemmitt, M. “Climate Change: Is tougher action needed to slow rising temperatures?”. CQ Researcher 16.4, (January 27, 2006).
  • Doyle, A. & Heavens A.“Biofuels cause pollution, not as green as thought – study”, Oslo: Reuters News, (Jan 7, 2013). Retrieved from: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-biofuels-idUSBRE90601A20130107
  • Mondal, N. K. “Biomass Smoke and Rural Health: Indian Women are at Risk. Bull World Health Org 78 (2014): 1078-1092.