Why efforts to clean up charcoal production in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t working

Typically, the production technique – earth kilns, used by smallholders – cannot properly regulate the oxygen supply, leading to inefficiencies. Simply put, they use more wood to produce little charcoal and emit more emissions compared to emerging carbonisation techniques. Making the charcoal sector less carbon intensive is desirable. But the current pathways chosen by various governments aren’t sustainable because they deprive many poor farmers of the means of their survival.