UNFCCC, Gold Standard, and the Clean Cooking Alliance Partner to Advocate Carbon Finance Opportunities for Clean Cooking

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The carbon market will not reach its full potential if it omits key climate and sustainability solutions, including clean cooking.

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"CCA is thrilled to collaborate with UNFCCC and Gold Standard to ensure that methodologies for clean cooking carbon projects are robust, sound, and grounded in the latest evidence." - Dymphna van der Lans, CEO, CCA

According to a group of organizations and UN agencies working in the field of climate change, clean cooking is an essential part of the solution to climate change, and carbon markets represent a critical resource in support of clean cooking.

The group of organizations — including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Gold Standard (GS), and the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), among others, are working to harness the potential of the carbon market and build awareness for market-oriented solutions.

More than 2.4 billion people around the world cook with polluting stoves and fuels, a practice responsible for a gigaton of CO2e emissions each year, more than 50% of manmade black carbon emissions, and 16% of ambient air pollution.

Cooking has historically received insufficient investment from public and private sources. As such, the carbon market, with its large funding flows and rapid growth, could provide the financial resources necessary to rapidly expand clean cooking access. However, clean cooking has struggled to attract sustained, large-scale funding flows from the carbon market.

Carbon markets play a key goal in the pursuit of net zero greenhouse gas emissions and have the potential to provide funding at the scale and speed necessary to bring about large-scale transitions in the world’s energy systems and economies. However, to realize this potential, these markets must be able to channel funding to those solutions that are most essential to meet the world’s global climate goals.

To take full advantage of the opportunities provided by carbon finance, clean cooking projects must be grounded in sound methodologies, realistic parameters, and conservative assumptions that reflect integrity, transparency, and accountability.

Improving the conditions for clean cooking carbon projects can take the ecosystem to the next stage — a virtuous cycle wherein credits with higher integrity drive better technologies and incentives for sustained use.

There is much cause for optimism. The earliest clean cooking carbon credit programs relied on the best data available at the time, which was sometimes scarce and incomplete. The international community now has more and significantly better data specific to clean cooking. This includes a much more detailed understanding of fraction of non-renewable biomass (fNRB) values, baseline energy needs, stove performance data, and more — all of which are key to accurately estimating emissions reductions.

Furthermore, the ecosystem now benefits from improved regulations, including international ISO standards for clean cooking, enhanced Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) approaches (including digitized MRV, and Internet of Things devices), use cases, more savvy participants in the market, greater scale, and better scrutiny of methodologies and input parameters. Additionally, stove quality has been continuously improving over time and pay-as-you-go options expand both implementation and monitoring opportunities.

Other ongoing efforts such as the ICVCM process for the voluntary market and CCA’s new Responsible Carbon Finance for Clean Cooking Initiative offer additional opportunities to improve the transparency, governance, and conduct of carbon markets in clean cooking.

Carbon credits are estimated, based on methodologies which UNFCCC, GS, CCA and the wider clean cooking expert community are working to strengthen. Good practice improves over time, and the balance between rigor and practicability is a fine one and as norms change and evolve.

Owen Hewlett, Chief Technical Officer of The Gold Standard Foundation, said, “For the past 15 years the clean cooking community and carbon market have worked together to refine our approaches to estimating and validating the impact of clean cooking projects. Two years ago, we comprehensively overhauled our methodologies. We will need to make further changes in future as we continue to learn how to make these projects even more effective — and as we align with the Paris Agreement and changing norms in the voluntary carbon market.”

UNFCCC earlier undertook a review resulting in changes to the default values used in CDM methodologies for clean cooking, requiring more conservative conversion factors, baselines, fNRB values and stove stacking assumptions.

CCA and UNFCCC are currently supporting additional research on methodology updates as they relate to baselines and fNRB values. GS has updated its cookstove methodologies and introduced conservative default factors, improved monitoring requirements with safeguards and caps including maximum permissible levels for key inputs like baseline fuel and usage rate.

In addition, GS has introduced a new methodology for advanced cooking solutions like electric pressure cookers, biogas, LPG, and bioethanol stoves that rely on real-time direct measurement of energy and fuel consumption for robust and credible GHG quantification.

CCA convenes the Clean Cooking and Climate Consortium (of which UNFCCC and GS are part) to provide technical support to help country governments set and meet climate goals through clean cooking, and to help donor governments ensure that the credits they purchase represent real-world emissions reductions, along with other important co-benefits.

CCA, along with UNFCCC and GS, is continually reviewing the latest evidence, and seeking to improve methodologies in line with the latest science. CCA convened the first MRV meeting at its Clean Cooking Forum in October 2022. CCA will build upon these efforts in a subsequent MRV meeting at the Africa Energy Forum in Nairobi in June 2023 that will discuss potential methodological improvements as part of this ongoing process.

Donee Alexander, Chief Science and Learning Officer, Clean Cooking Alliance: “Clean cooking represents an archetype for how carbon markets can truly deliver on climate justice and the transition to net zero. If we don’t get this right, the clean cooking ecosystem will miss a critical opportunity to tackle one of the greatest development challenges of our time.”

Dymphna van der Lans, CEO, Clean Cooking Alliance: “CCA is thrilled to collaborate with UNFCCC and Gold Standard to ensure that methodologies for clean cooking carbon projects are robust, sound, and grounded in the latest evidence. This is an exciting time for the clean cooking ecosystem and the carbon market more broadly, as improvements in data and innovation drive better credits. CCA will continue to work to ensure that clean cooking, a critical climate solution, receives strong support and that the carbon market works for the many, not the few.”

Margaret Kim, CEO, Gold Standard: “Approximately 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions from forest degradation come from people harvesting forests for fuel. And exposure to smoke from cooking fires causes and estimated 3.2 million deaths every year. Directing finance to projects that support the growth of clean cooking is good for people, communities, and the planet, meaning that people around the world will live longer, healthier lives while reducing emissions.”

Massamba Thioye, Manager, Regulatory Framework Implementation, Mitigation Division, UNFCCC: “The Clean Development Mechanism has already done a lot to boost the spread of clean cook stoves, not least in Africa. As the Paris Agreement is implemented and new rules for carbon markets under Article 6 of the agreement emerge, there is much to build on in terms of experience and know-how. The UN Climate Change secretariat stands by to assist with technical expertise and we look forward to new incentives and projects emerging which have the potential to shift the needle on climate change.”

About CCA: The Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) works with a global network of partners to build an inclusive industry that can make clean cooking accessible to all. Established in 2010, CCA is driving consumer demand, mobilizing investment, and supporting policies that allow the clean cooking sector to thrive.
Media contact: media@cleancooking.org

About the UNFCCC: With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

Media contact: press@unfccc.int

About Gold Standard: Gold Standard (http://www.goldstandard.org, @goldstandard) was established in 2003 by WWF and other international NGOs as a best practice standard to help the world achieve net zero. All Gold Standard-certified projects and programmes accelerate progress toward the Net-Zero ambition of the Paris Climate Agreement while catalyzing impact toward the broader Sustainable Development Goals. ISEAL Code Compliant and backed by a broad NGO Supporter Network, Gold Standard has 2000+ projects underway in over 100 countries, creating billions of dollars of shared value from climate and development action worldwide.

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