Press release

National leaders, key ministers, top business executives and other international figures announce 10 recommendations to rapidly boost energy efficiency progress worldwide

22 June 2020

Higher ambition and faster action by governments to accelerate improvements in energy efficiency worldwide are both vital and achievable, according to 10 key recommendations published today by a group of national leaders, ministers, top business executives and prominent energy experts. The list of proposed actions will be a key part of discussions at a major IEA conference that takes place tomorrow.

With the support of the IEA, the members of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency have over the past year explored the most effective ways to achieve stronger global progress in energy efficiency, which brings major benefits such as lower energy bills, large numbers of new jobs and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Their 10 recommendations highlight the best approaches to designing and implementing policies to unlock the huge advantages that energy efficiency offers to economies and societies around the world.

The Global Commission’s work comes as many governments are increasingly focusing on plans to repair the social and economic damage caused by the Covid-19 crisis. The Commission’s recommendations focus on this new reality and highlight the strong role that energy efficiency can play in bringing about a sustainable recovery.

“At this critical time, the importance of energy efficiency has not faded. If anything, the case is stronger and more urgent than ever before,” said Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland, the Commission’s Honorary Chair, in an introduction to the recommendations. “We need transformative change. Therefore, we have developed this set of 10 recommendations that identify policies that can be implemented quickly to boost activity on energy efficiency globally.”

Established a year ago, the Global Commission is an independent body comprising 23 members from around the world spanning government, industry, research and civil society. Drawing on the IEA’s analysis showing the worrying slowdown of global efficiency progress in recent years, the Global Commission was tasked with examining how to reverse this trend through new and stronger policy action by governments across key sectors of the economy.

The work of the Global Commission complements a major IEA report released last week that outlines a Sustainable Recovery Plan designed to enable governments to simultaneously boost their economies, create millions of jobs and put global greenhouse gas emissions into structural decline. Based on an analysis conducted in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the new IEA report shows that energy efficiency is an essential element in achieving these results.

“The IEA sees energy efficiency as a crucial clean energy resource," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “It has enormous untapped potential to help put the world on a more secure and sustainable path if governments make it an integral part of their policies and programmes across key parts of the economy. This is why I invited the members of the Global Commission to come together to identify global best practices and make actionable recommendations to spur the faster progress that the world urgently needs. I thank all the Commission members for their extremely valuable contributions to this endeavour."

The Global Commission’s recommendations will be discussed at the IEA’s Fifth Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, which will take place online on 23 June. The conference will hear from 15 ministers from around the world, with a focus on policy actions that can deliver the multiple benefits of energy efficiency as governments respond to the Covid-19 crisis. High-level speakers will bring a range of perspectives from governments, companies and international organisations.

The role of energy efficiency in economic stimulus plans and clean energy transitions will be an important part of discussions at the IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit on 9 July. The Summit, which will take place online, will bring together dozens of ministers from countries representing over 80% of global energy demand as well as energy industry CEOs, big investors and other key leaders from the public and private sectors around the world.

1. Prioritise cross-cutting energy efficiency action for its economic, social and environmental benefits

A stronger, all-of-government policy focus will enhance social and economic development, energy security and resilience, decarbonisation, and rapid job creation and economic stimulus

2. Act to unlock efficiency's job creation potential

Energy efficiency can quickly deliver job growth and can become a long-term, sustainable employment sector

3. Create greater demand for energy efficiency solutions

Efficiency action will be most rapidly scaled up through a focus on increasing demand for efficient products and services and enabling greater levels of market activity

4. Focus on finance in the wider context of scaling up action

Mobilising finance is an essential element of efficiency action, and policies to do so will be most effective if they are part of a wide, coherent approach to driving market scale

5. Leverage digital innovation to enhance system-wide efficiency

Policymakers can take advantage of digital innovation's potential to enable smart control, better energy management, and wider energy system optimisation

6. The public sector should lead by example

Governments should lead through investment in public sector efficiency and driving innovation and higer standards throughout its reach

7. Engage all parts of society

Implementation of efficiency action can happen at all levels of society, with cities, businesses, and local communities all playing a particularly important role in its success

8. Leverage behavioural insights for more effective policy

People are at the centre of energy efficiency action, and insights from behavioural science can help design smarter policies

9. Strengthen international collaboration

International collaboration and exchange of best practice allow countries to learn from each other and to harmonise approaches and standards where appropriate

10. Raise global energy efficiency ambition

Governments should be significantly more ambitious in both the short- and long-term when setting their efficiency targets, policies and actions

  • Honorary Chair: H.E. Mr. Leo VARADKAR, Prime Minister of Ireland
  • H.E. Dr. Amani ABOU-ZEID, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission, Ethiopia
  • H.E. Mr. Richard BRUTON, Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland
  • Mr. Nick BUTLER, Visiting Professor, King’s College London, United Kingdom
  • H.E. Mr. Alfonso CUSI, Secretary, Department of Energy, Philippines
  • Ms. Lisa DAVIS, CEO, Gas and Power, Siemens, United States
  • Ms. Connie HEDEGAARD, Chair, KR Foundation, Denmark
  • Mr. Michael LIEBREICH, Chairman and CEO, Liebreich Associates, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Ajay MATHUR, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, India
  • Ms. Lisa MURKOWSKI, US Senator, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, United States (honorary member)
  • Mr. Gil C. QUINIONES, President and CEO, New York Power Authority, United States
  • H.E. Mr. Aziz RABBAH, Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, Morocco
  • H.E. Ms. Teresa RIBERA RODRIGUEZ, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Spain
  • Mr. Adam SIEMINSKI, President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Saudi Arabia
  • H.E. Ms. María Fernanda SUÁREZ LONDOÑO, Minister of Mines and Energy, Colombia
  • Mr. Masakazu TOYODA, Chairman and CEO, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan
  • Mr. Jürgen TRITTIN, Member of the German Parliament, Germany
  • H.E. Mr. Claude TURMES, Minister for Energy and Minister for Spatial Planning, Luxembourg
  • Mr. Ben van BEURDEN, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell, the Netherlands
  • H.E. Dr. WAN Gang, Chairman, Science and Technology Association of China
  • H.E. Dr. Megan WOODS, Minister of Energy and Resources, New Zealand
  • Dr. Kandeh YUMKELLA, Former UN Under-Secretary-General, CEO & Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sustainable Energy for All, Sierra Leone
  • H.E. Ms. Salomé ZOURABICHVILI, President of Georgia
Read the report

With analytical support from the IEA, Global Commission members have examined how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action by governments across the globe. It has developed this series of actionable recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency.

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