World Population Reaches 7 Billion with Significant Implications for Cookstove Sector

Approximately 3 Billion People Rely On Polluting, Solid Biomass To Fuel Cooking Needs

Washington, D.C.

October 26, 2011


Alexis Krieg

The birth of the planet’s 7 billionth person this month is a milestone that underscores the life-saving mission of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. About 3 billion people rely on coal or solid biomass such as wood, dung or charcoal to cook their food each day, and the Alliance is working to reduce the two million annual deaths from the smoke emitted by burning these fuels with rudimentary cookstoves and open fires.

The majority of deaths, illnesses and injuries associated with inefficient, polluting cooking are borne by women and children, who can spend 20 hours a week or more searching for fuel – often at great personal risk to their safety – and who cook the family meal huddled around a smoke-filled hearth and home.

In many developing countries, especially in rural areas, approximately 80 to 90 percent of the population uses solid fuels, and those numbers are expected to rise as population growth outpaces economic development and the availability of natural resources: the International Energy Agency estimates that by 2030, 100 million more people will use solid fuels than do so today.

“Smart and sustainable population growth starts and ends with the incorporation of women as stakeholders and decision makers, which happens to be the driving force behind the Alliance’s prioritization of women in everything from stove design and training to working in small clean cookstoves businesses,” said Radha Muthiah, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “We know that about 90 percent of women reinvest their income in their families and their communities. Expanding markets for affordable, accessible and clean fuels and cookstoves will help women save time and money that they can dedicate toward helping themselves and others secure economic livelihood – an activity more crucial than ever as the world’s population continues to rapidly increase.”


About the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves 
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is an innovative public-private partnership led by the United Nations Foundation to save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions. The Alliance’s ‘100 by ‘20’ goal calls for 100 million households to adopt clean and efficient cookstoves and fuels by 2020. The Alliance is working with its public, private and non-profit partners to help overcome the market barriers that currently impede the production, deployment and use of clean cookstoves in developing countries. Visit for more information.