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The State of Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services

Author: World Bank


The most authoritative recent estimate of the extent of the cooking crisis and its consequences is The State of Access to Modern Energy Cooking Services, a study published in 2020 by the World Bank. The report is full of useful statistics on the extent of the problem across all major regions of the global south. 

Some highlights:

  • Roughly half of humanity, nearly 4 billion people, cook exclusively or largely with solid fuel and are exposed to unhealthy levels of cooking smoke.

  • 4 million premature deaths a year occur as a result of household air pollution from cooking with traditional stoves and fuels.

  • Dirty cooking costs $2 trillion per year in impaired health, lost productivity, and environmental degradation. 

  • Of the 4 billion people who rely on traditional cooking, about 1.25 billion have some access to “modern” options, including electric, LPG, and high performance biomass stoves. But for various reasons, including the high cost of the modern solutions, they use the modern systems very little and still rely largely on traditional cooking systems for many of their dishes. This is referred to as “stove stacking.”  Stacking with dirty traditional cooking negates the health benefits that could result from cooking exclusively on cleaner systems. 

  • Progress toward better access to clean cooking is slow. Although the number of households with access to electricity and LPG has grown in the past decade, the number cooking with wood, charcoal, and coal has  increased even more. This is driven largely by population growth in areas that rely primarily on traditional fuels.  

  • Most of the progress on clean cooking access has been in cities. Rural areas are lagging behind.

Key words

clean cooking, access

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