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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Health, climate, and time-use impacts from a carbon-financed cookstove intervention in rural India Aung, The Wint


Efforts to introduce efficient stoves and cleaner fuels increasingly leverage carbon-finance to scale up dissemination, highlighting climate, health, and livelihood co-benefits. However, actualization of co-benefits has not been evaluated. Two studies were implemented in Karnataka, India where a local organization initiated a Clean Development Mechanism-approved cookstove intervention. A one-year randomized intervention study assigned 187 households in a village to either receive the intervention or continue using traditional stoves, and evaluated fuelwood usage, indoor fine particle mass (PM₂.₅) and absorbance (Abs) levels, and blood pressure (BP) in women ≥ 25 years old (N=222). Forty percent of intervention homes continued using traditional stoves in combination with the intervention stove ("mixed stove"). There were minor and overlapping differences (post- minus pre-intervention change) between control and intervention groups for median (95% CI) fuel use [-0.60 (-1.02, -0.22) vs. -0.52 (-1.07, 0.00) kg day-¹], and 24-hr absorbance [35 (18, 60) vs. 36 (22, 50) x 10-⁶ m-¹]. For 24-hr PM₂.₅ difference, there was a higher increase in control compared to intervention homes [139 (61,229) vs. 73(-6, 156) μg m-³] between the two seasons. The intervention cookstoves partially mitigated the seasonal increase in PM₂.₅ concentrations but resulted in measurements with a higher ratio of absorbance to PM₂.₅ mass compared to traditional stoves. Exclusive use of intervention stove was not associated with significant changes in systolic or diastolic BP. Mixed stove homes were associated with higher SBP in both within-group (post-pre: 4.1 [(95% confidence interval), 0.4, 7.8] mm Hg) and between-group (9.5 [3.7, 15.3]) mm Hg analyses. In a cross-sectional, mixed-method study of households (N=50) in another village, time spent cooking and collecting fuelwood was similar between intervention and traditional stove homes. Women reported using saved time for farm work, household work, and leisure (e.g. rest, spend time with family). Self-reported time spent cooking and collecting fuelwood was overestimated compared to the observed measured time. Absent rigorous evaluations, stove interventions may be pursued that fail to realize expected carbon reductions or anticipated co-benefits. Carbon financing can help move populations in low-income countries towards cleaner cookstoves by supporting field-proven technologies, and aligning with emerging health and climate guidelines.

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