Energy efficiency rate must double to meet Paris climate targets

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A new report by the World Energy Council and French public agency ADEME has stated that energy efficiency improvement rates will have to double if they are to meet the climate targets set out by the Paris agreement, The Energy Collective reports.
According to the published report, the annual energy efficiency improvement has slowed from 1.6% for the period 2000-2008, to 1.3% between 2009-2015. Dr Francois Moisan, Scientific Director and Executive Director of Strategy, Research and International Affairs at ADEME, explains that this needs to double to 2.5% per annum between now and 2030.
Moisan believes that the global adoption of smart meters is the biggest single opportunity to boost energy saving, and that price signals and policies will also play a major factor.
The World Energy Council and ADEME has been producing a series of comprehensive triennial reports - entitled 'Energy Efficiency: Trends and Policies at World Level' - since 1992. The research explores the various approaches to energy efficiency policies adopted in some 95 countries.
Dr. Moisan has worked on the research since the initiative began, and has seen the focus on energy efficiency fluctuate during that time, coming into the foreground at the end of the 1990s and particularly during the first decade of the 21st century.
"We saw more and more governments designing energy efficiency programs and measures," says Moisan. "For industry it's also a strong motivation for competitiveness and greenhouse gases reduction."
The report found large differences between regions and countries in terms of energy efficiency improvements. Europe has the lowest primary energy intensity per unit GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), for example, while China uses twice the amount.
So, what's the solution?
According to the report, global carbon pricing is required, "taking into account medium- and long-term issues," as the current international price of fossil fuels does not incentivise energy efficiency. In the meantime, Moisan suggests that this could be established on a national or regional level first before negotiating on an international scale.
In addition to this, the report recommends the widespread introduction of "innovative financing tools [...] to reduce public spending on financial and fiscal incentives" for energy efficiency. This would require active involvement from financial institutions.
Finally, supportive policies need to be put in place, incorporating "a mix of different measures." Official information and regulation, such as building codes standards and minimum efficiency levels, can help to drive behaviours where prices aren't incentive enough. Consumers also need to be better informed about energy efficiency.
A combination of digital infrastructure and consumer engagement is key to stepping up energy efficiency improvements, concludes Moisan.
Paris Climate Change



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