[Stoves] REVISED: Of legitimacy and credulity (Was: business sickness, Crispin, 21 July 2016)

Traveller miata98 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 2 01:35:31 MDT 2016


A complete version now. I apologize in advance if any acrimony is
reignited. I am responding to Crispin's post.
--------------------
Yes, "On the stove testing front we have been selling false dreams to the
producers, the testers, the "masters" as you call programmers, and to the
users." However, this was probably not the case with charcoal stoves,
gasifier stoves, wood or electric mtads, since their users have bought the
products. Masters in glass palaces love building hologram shows.

You say, "There are so many conceptual errors in the evaluation methods
(including the social methods) that were it any other field, the field
itself would have been run out of town. And we wonder why it has taken so
long to gain legitimacy?"

You must be joking, Mr. Pemberton-Pigott.  Legitimacy? Whose legitimacy are
you thinking of? For what - cooking up hype?

Of the Clinton family business, in and out of the government? Why Hillary
Clinton gave clean cookstoves to millions of women around the world
<https://www.hillaryclinton.com/post/why-hillary-clinton-gave-clean-cookstoves-millions-women-around-world/>?
Even as Marc Gunther asks, "These cheap, clean stoves were supposed to save
millions of lives. What happened
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/these-cheap-clean-stoves-were-supposed-to-save-millions-of-lives-what-happened/2015/10/29/c0b98f38-77fa-11e5-a958-d889faf561dc_story.html>?"
Or someone passing off as a "top UN official" pleading ‘Make clean cooking
part of eco drive’
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/Make-clean-cooking-part-of-eco-drive/articleshow/49431473.cms>?
These thought leaders <http://cleancookingrevolution.com/thoughtleaders/>?
These 20 men who care about clean cooking
<http://cleancookstoves.org/about/news/03-07-2016-20-men-who-care-about-clean-cooking.html>?
Of the United Nations
<http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2016/0527/From-cookstoves-to-forests-UN-puts-eye-on-mending-global-environment>?
The World Humanitarian Summit
<http://cleancookstoves.org/about/news/05-25-2016-advocating-for-energy-access-at-the-world-humanitarian-summit.html>?
Omadyar network <https://www.omidyar.com/investees/living-goods>? Chef José
Andrés  proclaiming, "A Cooking Revolution: How Clean Energy and Cookstoves
Are Saving Lives
<https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/06/07/cooking-revolution-how-clean-energy-and-cookstoves-are-saving-lives>
"?

What is the purpose of this cooking revolution in Washington, New York -
Occupy McDonalds, perhaps the biggest cook in the world?

Or getting US to spend some $115 million from 2010 to 2015, barely over 6%
of it in financing support for stove producers, the rest in roadshows and
research, spreading gospel and promises. I see another $175 m is coming
<http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/09/247240.htm> through the end of
Hillary Clinton's first term.

Whose meals are cooked? Of the lady who didn't bake cookies. Sycophancy is
also legitimacy.

It is, of course, a big deal when stoves become part of Mrs Cinton's "new
strategy for international development
<http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2010/09/147500.htm>" and
Ambassador Rice (now National Security Advisor) commits to "a global market
for clean cookstoves <http://usun.state.gov/remarks/5348>" (a Global War on
Smoke, for dirty stoves are weapons of mass destruction). Press attention
<http://www.npr.org/2016/04/25/475584003/alter-egos-dissects-hillary-clintons-tenure-as-obamas-secretary-of-state>
is
legitimacy in the eyes of the gullible. (Confession - I wrote in support of
clean cookstoves and will readily write for Mrs Clinton's stoves if I could
get a cut from Bill using my stuff. I only have to translate my PM's Hindi
speech
<http://www.narendramodi.in/text-of-pm-s-address-at-the-launch-of-%E2%80%98pradhan-mantri-ujjwala-yojana-at-ballia-450837>
.)

Over here, my Prime Minister
<http://scroll.in/article/808996/fact-check-from-claims-on-ration-cards-to-gas-connections-how-modi-inflated-the-numbers>
beats
the Clinton couple and signals to the world - "Get rich first, then
subsidize gas." (And electricity
<http://powermin.nic.in/content/rural-electrification> - free connections
to 40 million households.) There are votes in subsidies for what people
want; donor praise in subsidies for what donors want. The search for
perfect woodstove went Up in Smoke
<http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/smoke-India-perfect-cookstove>.
Arvind Panagariya crows, "For the first time, the government has resolved
to bring LPG cylinders to these households
<http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/social-programs-under-2-years-rule-of-narendra-modi/article8633316.ece>"
- a promise to bring LPG cylinders to 50 million new households in five
years, ignoring to the previous government's promise of 55 million in five
years. Good politics - doling out LPG distributorships
<http://www.catchnews.com/politics-news/govt-to-set-up-10-000-new-lpg-dealerships-noble-agenda-or-poll-gimmick-1453034165.html>
(I
think Chaiwalla's estranged brother used to be one).

India supposedly has 190 million LPG consumers
<http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/fired-up-will-the-plan-to-home-deliver-lpg-cylinders-put-out-the-chulha-1443805792.html>
- up from perhaps 20-30,000 in 1960 - because wives, mothers, daughters,
independent women want LPG; they have better things to do than save trees
and don't care for Water Boiling Test x.y.#. Yes, there is "stacking"; who
cares? My mother stacked stoves - charcoal, kerosene, LPG, electric - for
nearly 50 years. For decades, we heard the song and dance of the "ladder
theory" (Amulya Reddy and his acolytes). When the ladder steps got too
wide, people stacked.

Of course, when it gets too hot, get out of the kitchen; governments in
India will ban cooking
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/05/19/india-just-set-a-new-all-time-record-high-temperature-123-8-degrees/>
.

Indian LPG subsidies could mount to $20 billion a year (excluding the
electricity and PNG customers, some 200 m households with LPG at $100/y
subsidy). The justification is not in DALYs or fNRB; their legitimacy in
the expert crowd has zero value except to the Masters of Grants.

The World Bank
<http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/17/how-to-solve-a-123-billion-problem.html>
now has put a tag of imputed cost of $123 billion a year attached to solid
fuels in direct use. It is the processes of combustion and fuel management,
not the fuels per se that generate this cost, which may be sharply reduced
by modernizing the entire fuel cycle. But instead we have been catering to
environmental fetishism - save trees, save windpipes, whether they want to
be saved or stoves are the best means to save them.

Those who cook are not as credulous as we are credulous enough to believe.
No matter; we have the The Gold Standard
<http://www.goldstandard.org/blog-item/gold-standard-improved-cookstove-activities-guidebook>.
We
could even appeal to the makers of automatic guns that they can offset
their sins by buying a few million stoves we certify will save lives. Or a
Coalition of the Willing that has been generating so much fire smoke for
years (in Middle East wars) can buy black carbon offsets.

Sorry, that's the topic for my next post, in response to your question on
"monetizing DALYs". (Advance warning - with enough armwaving, you can pull
any birds out of every hat.)

Nikhil

PS: I agree in part, "If the stove community can't correct things as basic
as the invalid metrics of common tests, how can it correctly predict the
impact of health from an exchange of stoves?  That takes real imagination.
We have as a community, little credibility among real scientists at least
in part because of the obvious misuse of scientific tools and persistent
conceptual errors about how ratings should be produced and how health
impacts are estimated (or not). Stripes are not yet earned."

GIVE IT UP!! (Modi's slogan for LPG subsidies for the upper-income
households.) I BEG - GIVE UP THE DELUSION. There is no "stove community"
but a slum of labs and computers, each hut producing its own meal and
emissions. Shoving errors under the rug - er, spreadsheets - is the name of
the game. There is no way - at least, no intellectually defensible - way to
"correctly predict the impact of health from an exchange of stoves." It
hasn't been done, and by the time you treat the poor as your guinea pigs
for getting research grants, you will have made millions sicker (than
otherwise). I won't try to prove myself correct; just prove me wrong.






> ---------
> (India +91) 909 995 2080
>
-----------------------------
>
> Message: 2
> Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:48:46 -0400
> From: Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <crispinpigott at outlook.com>
> To: "'Discussion of biomass cooking stoves'"
>         <stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>
> Subject: Re: [Stoves] Fwd: business sickness (Xavier, Crispin)
> Message-ID: <COL401-EAS101C54B0E761D7EBD5C735BB10A0 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> Dear Nikhil
>
> >Are you suggesting that we have been selling false dreams - to cooks or
> to our masters? :-)
>
> What a great question.
>
> Well, on the stove testing front we have been selling false dreams to the
> producers, the testers, the ?masters? as you call programmers, and to the
> users.
>
> There are so many conceptual errors in the evaluation methods (including
> the social methods) that were it any other field, the field itself would
> have been run out of town. And we wonder why it has taken so long to gain
> legitimacy?
>
> Selling stoves conceptually used to be about saving fuel which meant
> producing more fuel-efficient stoves. That went along OK until people
> started going ?engineering? without much of a clue about measurements,
> metrics and calculations. Until things developed into ?testing methods? we
> were sort of doing ok, and by that I mean in the 70?s. We sold ?fuel
> savings? when saving fuel was conceptually tied to gas guzzling cars.
>
> Now we sell ?health impacts? which are based on IER?s and DALY?s and GBD
> interpretations. Health impacts are notoriously difficult to ascertain with
> anything like the precision of fuel saved, even if both are calculated
> incorrectly. At least with fuel you get a reality check by watching the
> pile of wood disappear, or not.
>
> So, we are still selling false dreams to a similar crowd of customers, but
> in new, imaginative ways. Look at it this way: If the stove community can?t
> correct things as basic as the invalid metrics of common tests, how can it
> correctly predict the impact of health from an exchange of stoves?  That
> takes real imagination.  We have as a community, little credibility among
> real scientists at least in part because of the obvious misuse of
> scientific tools and persistent conceptual errors about how ratings should
> be produced and how health impacts are estimated (or not). Stripes are not
> yet earned.
>
> I am by no means giving up, aluta continua, as recent exchanges in the ISO
> groups have demonstrated. There is no point in producing a standard that
> will sit and rot. What is most encouraging is that the cook and the kitchen
> are getting a lot more credit for performance than they have been
> ?traditionally?. Testing in a realistic context, whether in a lab or out,
> is key. If you want to know what a stove does, use it and measure, where
> ?measure? includes interviews.
>
> We are going to fix this.
>
> Crispin
>
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> ------------------------------
>
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:32:11 -0400
> From: Crispin Pemberton-Pigott <crispinpigott at outlook.com>
> To: "Stoves" <stoves at lists.bioenergylists.org>
> Subject: Re: [Stoves] Fwd: business sickness (Xavier, Crispin)
> Message-ID: <COL401-EAS513164DB94180E96FD6C694B10A0 at phx.gbl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>
> Dear Nikhil
>
> PS to Crispin: I am not quite an idiotic Luddite. I am thrilled by your
> "puts out enough power to run a home is a very attractive option" and
> "alternatives which often include an engine." Not for the bottom 50-80% of
> rural households in SA or SSA yet, but possibly for the commercial users
> and the rich. As with climate change, the rich should take the first steps
> - a 2-5 kW system with energy storage, highly efficient appliances, and
> reliable backup that can take out 30% of the primary energy demand from the
> area.
>
> TAG?s don?t have to be expensive. See Scott Backhaus? 2012 paper on this ?
> it is technical but the idea is sound: mass-produced electricity generators
> will not remain an oddity for long.
>
> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261912003455
>
> Leaps and bounds: the system efficiency rose from <20% to 49%. That is
> serious progress in a short time. The Dutch are leading, I think.
>
> Regards
>
> Crispin
>
>
>
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