Carbon bonds might finance improved cookers in Mexico

Thursday 25 April 2013

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español]

Authorship: Emilio Godoy.

Editorial and Canal: IPS - Metas del Milenio

- This article was originally published on April 20th by the daily Latin American network Tierramérica.

Type of document: News.

Language: Spanish.

Theme: Environment.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Pollution, Government, NGOs, Health, Housing.

Countries and Regions: Mexico.

Refer to the news on the direct link.

Ecology organizations from Mexico are striving for the use of efficient wood-burning cookers, which will decrease climate pollution and that should be financed by the sales of carbon bonds at the voluntary markets.

In order to use less timber and combat the respiratory problems caused by the smoke coming from traditional cookers, two nongovernmental organizations developed efficient wood-burning cookers in the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, on the south east state of Quintana Roo.

"In the region, most of the rural families use timber for burning. We are initiating a series of workshops to find out what types of cookers exist in the country”, declared to Tierramérica the coordinator for ecotourism and eco-techniques Dulce Magaña, from U’yo’olché ("tree sprout " in Maya language), responsible for the joint initiative with the Mexican Fund for the Preservation of Nature (FMCN by its acronym in Spanish).

U’yo’olché, founded in 1999, is devoted to community forestry management, ecotourism and the monitoring of biodiversity in Quintana Roo and in the neighboring states of Yucatán and Campeche.

The effort was initiated in 2006 with the distribution of cookers Patsari, one of the most common models used in Mexico, made out of clay and whose manufacturing receives federal and state subsidies.

But clay is scarce in the region. Then the organization did some technical adaptation to produce the model Túumben K’óoben (new cooker), using local materials: White earth, prickly pear juice, lime and sweet corn leaves.

The basic design is a hollow brick and cement structure, a combustion chamber where timber is placed, two or three metallic burners and a exhausting pipe for the smoke.

Already over 2.000 of these improved cookers have been distributed, half of them with the new model. And the package includes a solar pot.

Thirteen percent of almost 117 million inhabitants in the country use timber for cooking. There is a consumption estimate of this biomass of around 2, 5 kilograms per day per person.

And every year there are around 4.000 deaths resulting from diseases related with the smoke at home, according to the Global Alliance for Clean Stoves, a network of governments, universities, companies and nongovernmental organizations.

With the “delivery and training in the use of solar pots and energy saving cookers it has been possible to reduce timber consumption in rural communities of the country”, said to Tierramérica the director general of FMCN, Lorenzo de Rosenzweig.

The consumption of timber decreases and smoke is eliminated, and there is also a reduction in the risk of accidents, family economy improves, women have more time available for other activities such as education and work, and all these influence in the strengthening of the rights of women and raise their quality of life.

Also, a traditional cooker emits 7,14 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, while a solar pot and one eco-cooker save up to four tons in that same period, according to FMCN.

"Kitchen projects can be successful. Some of them have attained a stable development. Crucial components are the model, adapted to the needs of the users, the quality of the materials and the follow up to the adoption of technology”, expressed to Tierramérica the regional manager for the Americas of the The Gold Standard, Iván Hernández, with its seat in Geneva.

This organization certifies the renewable energy, the energy efficiency, the management of residuals and of the forests. In Latin America it endorsed 63 initiatives. Nine per cent of them issued credits equivalent to an amount ranging between 150.000 and 200.000 tons of CO2, said Hernández. Mexico has no more than four of these projects.

These credits are issued for an activity showing a concrete and measurable reduction of CO2. Papers are commercialized in the market. The buyer, while financing a clean Project originating it, shows with the bonds that he/she has contributed to a cut in the global emission of gases warming the atmosphere.

The scheme Utsil Naj (a healthy house for all), is a program helping different actors in Latin America to Access the carbon market to spread proper technologies, it accepts activities such as energy-saving cookers, stoves and solar heaters, photo-voltaic panels and greenhouses and it also covers Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru.

Perhaps for the Mexican undertakings the best alternatives of voluntary markets of carbon might be those from the USA, Brazil, Chile, Australia or Japan from the compulsory ones foreseen within the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol.

This agreement, valid since 2005 and extended to 2020, allow industrial nations which are compelled to combat their climate pollution, to invest in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries in order to compensate those which were not able to reduce them in their own territory.

As of that year, Mexico can only commercialize bonds in Europe of projects registered priot to the MDL until 2012, so the voluntary schemes might prove to be a good option.

"With the bonds we will obtain income to provide maintenance or to undertake actions with women, such as allowing them access to other techniques, and to provide follow up and monitoring to the stoves”, said Magaña.

U’yo’olché is to measure the adoption of this technique among its users. Each device has a cost of 162 US dollars. Using an interest-free micro-credit, the person buying it pays around eight US dollars per week or might decide to pay for a share of the cast while an organization might finance the other portion, according to Magaña.

This project will be the second one in the world of improved cookers under the trade mark The Gold Standard which is negotiating bonds in the international market, after the Peruvian one called Qori Q’oncha, also introduced by Utsil Naj which issues credits for around 100.000 tons of CO2.

"Resources will be reinvested to expand the coverage and to train community leaders. One it is functioning and giving results it will be replicated with partners in other region of Mexico”, said De Rosenzweig.

Hernández believes that “many regions and countries have taken individual or bilateral initiatives for a possible Exchange in the reduction of emissions. The combination of voluntary markets will be the key element in the development of these new mechanisms".

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