45 nations pledge to double rate of energy efficiency improvements

Image: IEA

The declaration takes the form of a new ministerial statement, released to mark the conclusion of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) global conference on energy efficiency in France.

As the conference began earlier this week, the IEA confirmed that global energy intensity decreased 2.2% last year, twice the average of the previous five years, largely due to policy responses to the energy price crisis.

Yet annual decreases of 4% are needed to give the world the best chance of achieving net-zero by mid-century and averting the worst physical impacts of the climate crisis.

To that end, the 45 nations have pledged to develop and implement better policies to improve energy efficiency domestically. These include both government-led schemes and policies that help to unlock private investment.

The new statement emphasises the need for increased efficiency in all sectors, including heavy industry and the built environment.

It states that energy efficiency should be regarded as the “first fuel” at the core of short and long-term decision-making and notes that efficiency will arise from changed behaviours as well as the implementation of new designs and technologies.

This is the approach that the EU, a signatory of the statement, has taken in response to the price crisis.

Beyond work within their own borders, the statement stipulates that signatories will be global advocates for strong energy efficiency policies and international collaboration in this field. It states that they urge all nations attending COP28 to work towards a new global energy efficiency pledge.

COP28, the UN’s annual international climate summit, begins in late November in Dubai. The Summit has been mired in controversy in recent weeks, with criticism mounting over the UAE’s choice of the chief executive of its state-owned oil company as Summit President.

In total, 90 nations attended the IEA’s conference this week. They were joined by hundreds of representatives from businesses, academia and NGOs. The headline sponsor was Schneider Electric.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of energy efficiency for strengthening energy security and keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C within sight, so I’m delighted that countries from across the world are uniting around the IEA’s call to double energy efficiency progress by 2030. This can help drive stronger momentum behind efforts to achieve an ambitious outcome at COP28 in Dubai.”

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