Pandemic slows down energy efficiency progress to decade low – IEA

Pearl Bantillo


SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down global progress in energy efficiency to a decade low, posing a threat to meeting international climate goals. This makes the next three years critical to reverse the “worrying trend”, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said.

“Global primary energy intensity – a key indicator of how efficiently the world’s economic activity uses energy – is expected to improve by less than 1% this year, the weakest rate since 2010,” according to IEA’s Energy Efficiency 2020 report released on Thursday.

“This is well below the level of progress needed to achieve the world’s shared goals for addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and increasing access to energy,” it said.

Investment in energy efficiency worldwide is on course to fall by 9% in 2020 amid the economic recession triggered by the pandemic, the IEA said.

“We welcome plans by governments to boost spending on energy efficiency in response to the economic crisis, but what we have seen so far is uneven and far from enough,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

“Energy efficiency should be at the top of to-do lists for governments pursuing a sustainable recovery – it is a jobs machine, it gets economic activity going, it saves consumers money, it modernises vital infrastructure and it reduces emissions,” he added.

“There’s no excuse not to put far more resources behind it,” Birol said.

Global spending on efficiency-related stimulus measures so far announced by governments is estimated to generate nearly 2m full-time jobs between 2021 and 2023, based on IEA’s analysis.

Further recovery efforts related to energy efficiency could create another 4m jobs globally through enhanced public and private sector investments in buildings, transport and industry, it added.

Visit the ICIS Coronavirus topic page for analysis of the impact on chemical markets and links to latest news.

Click here to see regulatory targets and a list of chemical and mechanical recyclers on the ICIS Circular Economy topic page.


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