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World needs to double energy efficiency by 2030 for net zero emissions, warns IEA

The new IEA report shows how doubling energy efficiency efforts can also deliver positive knock-on effects for society. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Global energy and climate leaders meet in France to address energy efficiency, as new IEA analysis stresses the need to double progress by 2030

Doubling efforts is essential for energy security, affordability, and staying within the 1.5°C global warming limit, the International Energy Agency said on 7 June. 

A special briefing report was published for the Global Conference, called the Energy Efficiency: The Decade for Action. The report said that ramping up annual energy efficiency progress from 2.2% today to more than 4% annually by 2030 would deliver vital reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time it would create jobs, expand energy access, reduce energy bills, decrease air pollution, and diminish countries’ reliance on fossil fuel imports – among other social and economic benefits.

Energy efficiency investment in 2023 is expected to reach record levels, despite a slowdown in year-on-year growth as the high cost of capital weighs heavily on potential new projects. Under current expected and announced policies, efficiency-related investment is projected to rise by a further 50%. However, to see annual progress double, investments in the sector must increase from US$600bn today to more than US$1.8 trillion by 2030.

France's minister for energy transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher said, "Energy savings and energy efficiency are the most simple and obvious responses to both the energy and the climate crises. They are one of the most crucial actions for clean energy transitions, and that is why I am honored to co-host this important global conference. I am pleased to be working closely with the International Energy Agency to strengthen the focus on energy efficiency worldwide."

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said, "Today, we are seeing strong momentum behind energy efficiency. Countries representing over 70% of the world’s energy consumption have introduced new or improved efficiency policies since the global energy crisis began over a year ago. We now need to push into a higher gear and double energy efficiency progress by the end of this decade. I believe this major global conference, which I’m delighted to co-host with French minister Pannier-Runacher, can be a vital impetus for accelerating ambition and action."

The new IEA report shows how doubling energy efficiency efforts can also deliver positive knock-on effects for society. Today, the sector employs tens of millions of people worldwide. With increased ambition, energy efficiency activities could lead to another 12 million jobs globally by 2030. 

To continue its support for stronger action on efficiency, the IEA has developed and updated its policy toolkit for governments. The toolkit comprises two parts: The first is ten strategic principles, based on the recommendations of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency, that bring together key learnings from global experience on how to maximise the impact of all energy efficiency policies and programmes. The second is a set of sectoral policy packages that highlight key policies available to governments, and how they can be integrated into an effective coherent suite of policies and actions to deliver faster and stronger efficiency gains. The 2023 policy toolkit includes two new policy packages on clean cooking and finance as well as updates to the existing packages.