On Cookstoves, Research Paves Way to Action

March, 2011
The Great Energy Challenge Blog at National Geographic
It may come as a surprise to know that half of the global population uses biomass (wood, agricultural wastes and dung) and coal for cooking.

For Sub-Saharan Africa where electrification rates outside of South Africa are only 28 percent, biomass and coal are the primary cooking fuels for over three fourths of the population. Combustion of unprocessed biomass fuels, especially in open or poorly ventilated stoves, emits high concentrations of pollutant mixtures – particulates, and carbon dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide – associated with a number of respiratory and other diseases and is the leading cause of death among infants and children worldwide.

Since the task of cooking is mainly done by women and girls, it is they who face daily exposure to levels of pollution which are estimated to be the equivalent of consuming two packets of cigarettes a day (Kammen, 1995; Ezzati and Kammen, 2001).

Dan Kammen: "Why Small Nuclear Reactors Could Make Sense, But May Not Get Built"

March, 2011
The Atlantic
Before the nuclear accident in Japan, significant private-sector interest existed for the development of small modular nuclear reactors. It remains to be seen if that interest will continue.

Small and medium reactors are an interesting technology. At roughly 100 - 300 MW each, they are a very different sort of creature from the 1000 - 1400 MW units that are the standard for the commercial power industry today. Several companies are pursuing small modular reactors, that in fact are not so different in size from the reactors powering submarines and some nuclear powered ice-breakers.

Your local power source may be responsible for climate change but it gets impacted by it too

March, 2011
Development in a Changing Climate Blog
Brazil relies heavily on its abundant hydropower resources to meet electricity demand, which is rising by about 5% a year. These resources have helped Brazil hook up more than 2.4 million rural homes since 2003, in addition to delivering electricity to its big cities. But hydropower is vulnerable to drought too, and the Brazilian Amazon—home to most of the country’s hydropower potential—has had two devastating droughts since 2005.
That’s just one example of the exposure of the energy sector to climate impacts. Up to now, most of the focus for the discussion of the energy-climate nexus has been on the impact of fossil-fuel energy use on climate change, the need to mitigate it, and the shift to renewable energy sources. This week, two World Bank colleagues of mine have just launched a new study that looks at the issue from the opposite side of the equation: climate impact on energy systems.

Universal Energy Access Towards 2030: The Role of Multi-lateral Agencies

Monday, March 7, 2011 - 1:00pm - 2:15pm

Benefits to the poor from clean and efficient energy use

March, 2011
Development in a Changing Climate Blog
The December 2011 Climate Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, presents a tremendously important opportunity to advance both the globally critical goal of climate protection, and to do so synergistically with a local agenda of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
The COP 16 meeting in Cancun last year, while in many ways an important step forward, particularly on the role of energy efficiency, did not result in decisions on the global accord, and much remains to be done. One remedy for this situation may be to achieve local successes that demonstrate how climate protection and clean and efficient uses of energy can directly benefit the poor.
Dan Kammen discussing clean energy strategies with African ambassadorsThe fact that the COP will take place in Africa, which has the highest unmet need -- and demand for reliable and affordable energy access – brings to a head the need to find new tools and paths that can meet both goals. As the plans for the Durban Conference evolve, there must be a premium on action that implements this strategy.