YSPH Funds Three Global Projects Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Three international projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—in Costa Rica, Uganda and Vietnam—are receiving a total of $15,000 in donations from the Yale School of Public Health.

The Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative (CCHI) held two workshops this month and outlined each project in detail before participants voted on which one they thought was most effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time providing immediate economic, social, environmental and health benefits.

The project garnering the most support was Ugastove, an initiative in Uganda to promote the use of more efficient home cooking stoves that will receive a $6,774 donation. The stoves reduce charcoal use by 36 percent and prevent an estimated 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. They also provide jobs, reduce fuel costs, save trees (used to produce charcoal), and improve health by reducing household air pollution. At a cost of only $10, more than 500,000 stoves have already been sold.

A biogas project for farmers in Vietnam will receive $6,290. This initiative relies on a biodigester, a large brick-lined storage container for animal waste. Instead of the methane (a potent greenhouse gas) produced from the waste escaping into the atmosphere, it powers stoves, lamps and other appliances in the farmer’s home with a clean-burning fuel. In addition to preventing 480,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, the project has created more than 2,700 jobs and has reduced deforestation (since methane replaces wood as a fuel), household air pollution, and noxious manure odors. There is an estimated market for more than 2 million biodigesters in Vietnam alone.

Finally, a Wind Power Cooperative in Los Santos, Costa Rica, will receive $1,936. This project includes 15 wind turbines in one of the country’s windiest areas. It prevents 15,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually and has helped create local jobs and boost tourism to the region. The turbines create power for 50,000 people and are owned by the people who use them.

It is a moral imperative and in everyone’s long-term interest for developed countries to provide financial aid for sustainable development in developing countries.

Robert Dubrow

“It is a moral imperative and in everyone’s long-term interest for developed countries to provide financial aid for sustainable development in developing countries,” said Robert Dubrow, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health and CCHI’s director. "At a time when our government is backing away from such aid, private donations are more important than ever.”

Dubrow noted that greenhouse gas reduction is needed on a global scale, and that developed countries, which are responsible for most of the cumulative CO2 emissions, have a special responsibility to reduce their own emissions as well as to help developing countries reduce theirs.

It is crucial that projects in developing countries, which are seeking to improve the quality of life for their citizens, have immediate and substantial benefits.

The two workshops were held at the Yale School of Public Health on April 7 and at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies on April 25. The three greenhouse gas emission reduction projects are part of a portfolio of projects endorsed by Cool Effect, a non-profit organization that promotes such efforts around the world.

CCHI is a multidisciplinary program that seeks to educate and train future leaders on the health impact of climate change, as well as to foster research that addresses the related public health challenges. CCHI is funded by Cool Effect’s founders, Richard and Dee Lawrence, through a grant from their Overlook International Foundation.

To learn more about CCHI, visit https://publichealth.yale.edu/climate/

This article was submitted by Denise Meyer on May 1, 2017.

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Robert Dubrow

Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences)