Household air pollution causes nearly four million premature deaths per year, primarily among poor women and children in low- and middle-income countries (Rosenthal et al., 2017, Lim et al. 2012). Transitions away from solid fuels improve indoor air quality, directly benefiting the health of women and children in the first two years of life. It remains unclear how to catalyze widespread and sustained fuel transitions, despite countless fuel transition case studies at the local level. This proposal will use mixed methods to identify enabling environments for household fuel transitions by examining both successful and unsuccessful transition attempts.
Understanding of sustainable fuel transitions is fragmented, showing when individual transitions happen and to what extent, but not charting a path for others to follow. Funded by the Community for Global Health Equity, this seed project seeks to address the challenge set forth by Rosenthal et al. (2017). Our innovative transdisciplinary macro-, meso-, and micro-level analyses will yield a more complete understanding of nested enabling environments for fuel transition and enable stakeholders at every level to identify what framework needs to be in place for sustainable fuel transition.
Specific Research Objectives
Off-Site Research Methods
On-Site Research Methods
Investigate fuel transition from stakeholders across an entire supply chain, including but not limited to consumers or end users, community organizations, political leaders, non-governmental organizations, and fuel manufacturers/providers to examine enabling environments alongside consumer absorptive capabilities and stakeholder perception of fuel transitions.
How is this Innovative?
The holistic approach to understanding fuel transitions using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies creates a comparison of rhetoric, perceived impact, and reality. Policy imposition has its limits and must be coupled with enabling mechanisms at all societal levels if policy mobility is expected to succeed from one region to another. If household fuel transitions are to expand, this analysis is required.
The Long View
This team hopes to highlight complexities in transitioning to less harmful household fuels: for example, why one region of a country has transitioned away from solid fuels, while a neighboring region continues to use them. To this end, the project will develop a model of socio-economic characteristics that affect transition from biomass to cleaner fuels and provide space for stakeholder explanations of local barriers and facilitators of adoption. This big idea requires a diverse team with quantitative expertise applied to policy-making, as well as experience in community engagement, household-level research, and energy poverty analysis.