India announces improved cook stove program.

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India plans to distribute efficient cooking stoves to rural areas in an effort to reduce air pollution and mitigate climate change. The National Biomass Cook-stoves Initiative, announced in December, aims to provide a quick solution to short-lived pollutants that contribute to the greenhouse effect and are responsible for millions of premature deaths nationwide, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

An estimated 826 million Indians depend on simple cook stoves that burn solid fuel, mainly wood or coal. When households are filled with smoke from inefficient stoves, the toxic soot can increase the risks of developing pneumonia, cataracts, and tuberculosis.

A study published last year in The Lancet estimates that distributing 15 million improved stoves every year for the next decade would supply 87 percent of households across India. Such a program would avoid 17 percent of the premature deaths and disability from respiratory infections, heart disease, and bronchitis that would have occurred in 2020, saving some 55.5 million years of healthy life that otherwise would be lost from air pollution exposure, the study found.

More-efficient biomass stoves can also prevent the release of black...

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