A recently released U.N. report outlines a range of 16 measures, including use of cleaner burning wood stoves, which can limit release of greenhouse gases such as “black carbon” into the atmosphere. This would help the world achieve the goal of limiting global warming to less than 2°C above pre-industrial times which was agreed last year in Mexico by over 200 countries.
Black carbon is a greenhouse gas which contains soot, and it is associated with smog. One of the measures proposed by the U.N. is the improvement of wood burning stoves to reduce soot emissions from them. Soot is produced when carbon-based fuels such as wood and coal are burned incompletely.
In the UK demand from consumers for clean burning stoves has been increasing for several years now. A succession of increases in gas and oil prices has driven many customers to seek cheaper ways to heat their homes, driving increased sales of wood-fired central heating stoves and solid fuel room heaters.
As a large proportion of UK urban areas are designated Smoke Control Areas, customers in these zones are the main market for technologically advanced DEFRA Approved stoves, which burn wood so cleanly they can be legally used in smoke free areas. However DEFRA stoves are also understandably popular among people looking for environmentally friendly heating options.
Although DEFRA Approved woodburners were initially very expensive, prices are now beginning to drop as the scale of manufacture grows. Even budget stove brands such as Tiger and Firefox have developed DEFRA stoves, making clean burn technology affordable to a broader consumer base.
Clean burning stoves offer financial benefits to consumers as well as being better for the environment, as the increase in efficiency translates into lower fuel costs. Other measures suggested by the U.N. also combine financial and environmental benefits. You can find a more detailed article on this U.N report at Reuters.