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Northern emissions dwarf those from Southern fires

Regarding your news story 'Burning wood for fuel could kill 10 million Africans', my feeling is that Dan Kammen is of course right to make the point about the health hazard of wood stoves indoors.


Indeed he could have pointed to people in Soweto, South Africa, burning foraged lumps of coal for cooking, which is even worse.

The UK's Independent newspaper published a similar report on 3 April, which reported that home fires in India were melting the Arctic icecap.

From where I am standing, highlighting these issues in global terms is poor judgement.

The overwhelming trigger for human-induced climate change is emissions from burning fossil fuels over the past 200 years. This action has raised the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases by 40 per cent compared to what it was in 1800.

Eighty per cent of this change has been caused by 20 per cent of the global population living, not in the African or Indian bush, but in rich countries. The politics of this is, or should be, familiar by now.

The effect of emphasising the health hazard caused locally in developing countries gives the impression that the bucks go North, while the buck is passed South.