Energy Efficiency Central to Tackling Emissions and Costs

THE International Energy Authority (IEA) yesterday released their 2013 World Energy Outlook, revealing that energy efficiency has to play a more central role in tackling emissions and rising energy bills.

The report, released yesterday in London, presents a central scenario in which global energy demand rises by one-third in the period to 2035. The shift in global energy demand to Asia gathers speed, but China moves towards a back seat in the 2020s as India and countries in Southeast Asia take the lead in driving consumption higher.

“Major changes are emerging in the energy world in response to shifts in economic growth, efforts at decarbonisation and technological breakthroughs,” said IEA Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven. “We have the tools to deal with such profound market change. Those that anticipate global energy developments successfully can derive an advantage, while those that do not risk taking poor policy and investment decisions.”

Among the options open to policy makers to mitigate the impact of high energy prices, the Outlook highlights the importance of energy efficiency: two-thirds of the economic potential for energy efficiency is set to remain untapped in 2035 unless market barriers can be overcome. One such barrier is the pervasive nature of fossil-fuel subsidies, which incentivise wasteful consumption at a cost of $544 billion in 2012.

Action to reduce the impact of high energy prices does not mean diminishing efforts to address climate change. Energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions are projected to rise by 20% to 2035, leaving the world on track for a long-term average temperature increase of 3.6 °C, far above the internationally-agreed 2 °C climate target. The report emphasizes the importance of carefully designed subsidies to renewables, which totalled $101 billion in 2012 and expand to $220 billion in 2035 to support the anticipated level of deployment.

Picture by Arnold Paul cropped by Gralo (Image by Arnold Paul cropped by Gralo) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday 14th November 2013

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