Climate change is dramatically impacting our environment and society. In addition, there are direct impacts on human health. In this program, we will explore some of the linkages between the changing climate and human health, with a specific case study of the impact of household energy choices in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is third, behind China and India, in the projected climate impact of replacing traditional cookstoves with cleaner versions. This is because short-lived climate forcers, including soot, which is emitted by cooking as well as other sources, are known to be important targets for addressing climate change in the short term. Decreasing them can buy us time to develop better methods for reducing carbon dioxide emissions over the longer term.

These short-lived species have additional impacts. The case study of household energy use, especially for cooking, will give us the opportunity to study the connections between personal energy choices, regional environmental impacts, such as deforestation and air pollution, and health impacts. At the same time, we will learn about why individuals make the choices that they do regarding their use of different fuel types for cooking and heating.

We will design and carry out a measurement program to assess the impact of cleaner cooking technologies on air quality in peoples’ homes, investigate the connections between regional and national environmental impacts and individual choices, and meet with national and international organizations working on these issues. We will work in both urban Addis Ababa and a rural area, Wolkite, to explore the similarities and differences in different types of settings.