IEA: Rate of energy efficiency improvements needs to double to put world on track for net-zero

Energy – an International update!

Globally, energy intensity is on track for a 1.9% year-on-year decrease in 2021

Globally, energy efficiency has improved in 2021 after a rocky 2020, according to a new analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA). But the rate of progress will need to at least double to put the world on track for net-zero by 2050, the Agency is warning.

The 2021 edition of the Agency’s annual Energy Efficiency Report reveals that progress is now back on track as the world emerges from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2020 saw only a minor (0.5%) improvement to global energy intensity, amid falling energy demands and prices, slowed investment in the energy sector and many energy-using sectors and logistical issues with supply chain and solutions installation.

Global energy intensity is on track to fall 1.9% in 2021, the analysis forecasts. This is a promising yet expected figure – the year-on-year fall was 2% in 2019.

“It is still unclear whether this year’s improved energy intensity will signal the start of a sustained recovery,” the IEA said in a statement.

“However, increased investment trends, rising government spending on efficiency – in large part related to recovery plans enacted in response to Covid-19 crisis – new announcements of higher climate ambition and other policy measures offer some encouraging signals.”

To this point, the report forecasts that, by the end of the year, national policies will have helped to generate $30bn of investment in energy efficiency – around 10% of the total set to be allocated between 2015 and 2021.

In recent months, much growth in energy efficiency investment has been concentrated in Europe. Policy supports have included the European Commission’s Renovation Wave and overarching Energy Efficiency Directive, and the UK’s updated Industrial Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy.

A long road ahead

IEA: Rate of energy efficiency improvements needs to double to put world on track for net-zero

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