16 May '12, 1am

Charcoal Kills 2 Million People & Vast Swaths of Forest Every Year. Can Biofuel Stop the Carnage?

Across Africa, forests are disappearing at twice the worldwide average rate. As of 2009, that rate clocked in at a mind-bending 4 million hectares, or about 15,400 square miles of lost forest, per year . One of the major forces feeding that devastation is likely unknown to denizens of the developed world—the demand for charcoal. Some 80% of Africans still rely on solid-based fuels like wood, dung, and especially charcoal, for cooking. And the still-growing demand for charcoal means that razing forests for supply is now booming business, even in protected areas. Charcoal begets myriad other ills as well, of course. Burning it releases carbon into the atmosphere, albeit on a level comparatively tiny to industrial coal-fired power plants. Worse, it's often burned indoors, in poorly ventilated family dwellings, where the smoke has disastrous health impacts. Especially on young...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/africa...

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