Governments need to take stronger policy action to reverse the worrying slowdown in global energy efficiency improvements, according to a public survey conducted by the International Energy Agency. The survey was carried out to inform the first meeting of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency, which takes place Wednesday.
Launched in July, the 23-member Global Commission is led by Honorary Chair Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and composed of national leaders, current and former ministers, business executives and international experts. It is tasked with producing recommendations by next summer to accelerate global progress on energy efficiency, which declined last year to its slowest rate since the start of this decade.
During their first meeting in Paris on Wednesday, commission members will examine the key factors that determine success in the design and implementation of efficiency policies – as well as in securing political and popular support for the policies. The meeting will lay the groundwork for developing the commission’s recommendations.
The IEA is providing analytical support for the commission’s work. As part of this, it conducted a global public survey on energy efficiency to which nearly 800 people from around 80 countries responded. The survey includes questions on the objective of efficiency policies, key opportunities and focus areas for the commission.
In response to a question asking why the significant potential to improve energy efficiency is not being realised, the most popular answer was that governments do not place efficiency high enough on their agendas. Only 3% of respondents pointed to a lack of readily available technologies as a factor.
The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the most compelling reason to pursue greater levels of efficiency, according to most survey respondents. Many of them identified the buildings sector as having the greatest potential for immediate efficiency gains. More than 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that efficiency progress is not possible without firm targets backed by clear strategies and policies.
When asked what topics the Global Commission should prioritise, the top two answers from respondents were identifying ways to raise the profile of energy efficiency to put it higher on government agendas and determining key success factors in policy design and implementation. Those themes reflect the wider energy efficiency community’s expectations that the Global Commission will show how to build more support for energy efficiency among decision-makers and pinpoint the best ways to design and implement efficiency policies to effectively mobilise finance and investment.
The views gathered by the public survey provide important insights for commission members as they begin their discussions and develop detailed policy recommendations