A first-world problem.

8th Jun 2020


A study published at the end of May demonstrated an all too familiar first-world response to a global problem. It showed, yet again, the potential for climate change solutions to be seen purely from the perspective of those enjoying the lifestyle of a developed country.

A team of international researchers, screened nearly 7,000 studies from across the globe to develop a list of the most effective changes to household consumption to cut our carbon footprints. Household activities account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gases. Featured at number 9 was improved cooking equipment.

There followed a flurry of activity (I’m told) examining the best performing saucepans and a debate about induction hobs versus gas hobs. A very first world reaction of concerned luvvies desperate to do their bit. But pause for just a second, it was a study of global research, and I hate to break it to them but not everyone on our planet agonises over whether to buy the latest Tefal Hard Anodised Aluminium Non-Stick Pan set or not? According to the Clean Cooking Alliance, globally over three billion people depend on the polluting, open fires of inefficient stoves to cook their food. This is harmful to their health, bad for economic development, and yes, is harmful to the environment and the climate. What’s more, it is women and girls who are disproportionately affected as they are more likely to cook the food and collect fuel.

This is the emission issue that needs to be addressed and helps rank cooking equipment in the top ten household activities that contribute to climate change.

Seeing things solely through the prism of domestic solutions to a global problem, will lead to sub-optimal decision-making; usually more expensive options chosen when at a global level, more economic ones can be found. A carbon off-set, for say £10 a tonne of carbon, helping those three billion out of their plight makes more sense once the first-world optics are ignored and policy-thinkers address what are truly global problems.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO