International climate goals are under threat following energy efficiency’s weakest progress in a decade.
Global progress on energy efficiency has slowed this year due to the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, making it more difficult for nations to reach international energy and climate goals.
According to a new report by the International Energy Agency, global primary energy intensity (an indication of how efficiently the world’s economic activity uses energy) is expected to have improved by less than 1% this year. This figure is strikingly low and means the next three years will be a critical period for reversing the trend by combatting climate change, reducing air pollution, and increasing access to efficient energy.
As investment in energy efficiency worldwide is set to fall by 9% in 2020, Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, said: “For governments that are serious about boosting energy efficiency, the litmus test will be the amount of resources they devote to it in their economic recovery packages”.
According to the IEA report, the way governments choose to incorporate energy efficiency into their economic recovery plans will influence future trends. They could make a big impact in reducing energy intensity across all sectors of the economy if they tapped into certain sectors and opportunities which, to-date, have been largely unconsidered.
Dr Fatih Birol explains that there is a huge imbalance in investment across sectors and regions; with the majority of the investments stemming from Europe and focusing on either the buildings sector or electric vehicles.
The IEA report demonstrates that spending in Europe accounts for 86% of the global announcements to support energy efficiency, while North America and the Asia-Pacific region split the remaining 14%.
Although the promises have been made to-date are expected to generate roughly 2 million full-time jobs worldwide between 2021-2023, the IEA states that further investments in buildings, transport, and industry could create an additional 4 million jobs across the globe.
Click here to read the full report.