CHENNAI, India, (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed one of her simplest but potentially most transformative diplomatic priorities in India yesterday: clean cooking stoves.
Clinton, who last year launched a $50 million U.S. drive to bring clean cooking stoves to developing countries to cut deaths from smoke inhalation and fight climate change, visited an Indian demonstration site to watch some of the stoves in action. Clinton watched several Indian women working different models of cookstoves, ranging from a traditional fire to the new model stoves which burn both hotter and more efficiently, reducing the need for fuel and cutting emissions.
“The women here today represent women all over the world who are by and large the biggest users and victims of cookstoves,” Clinton said after smiling and greeting each of the women crouched by their different stoves.
“We will work with people around the world to help develop clean cookstoves, help to manufacture them so they are affordable for you to buy them.”
A U.S. official travelling with Clinton said improving cooking stoves in India alone could have a major impact. Cooking fires are blamed for some 400,000 deaths in the country each year, mostly of women and children, and for as much as a quarter of India’s emissions of soot or “black carbon”, which along with ozone air pollution is seen as a major driver of global warming.