Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 highlights cuts in greenhouse gases from investments in energy efficiency
IEA, October 8, 2015. Image credit: PublicDomainPictures
As the world prepares for the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris this year, the new book Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 reveals that energy efficiency improvements since 1990 in IEA member countries avoided 870 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2014 – and a cumulative 10 billion tonnes over the last 25 years, roughly equivalent to current annual emissions by all IEA member countries.
Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 adds to IEA analysis that has shown energy efficiency to be the most effective tool to reduce energy sector carbon emissions, accounting for more than 40% of the required reductions to limit global warming to 2 degrees centigrade. The new findings make clear that energy efficiency improvements have effectively been rolling back the clock on carbon emissions.
As detailed in the report, energy efficiency improvements since 1990 in IEA member countries reduced primary energy consumption in 2014 by more than 760 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Because two-thirds of CO2 emissions come from fuel combustion, this makes efficiency a critical tool for minimising the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. Avoided energy consumption from investments in energy efficiency over the past 25 years also saved USD 550 billion for consumers in IEA member countries in 2014, more than the European Union spent on fuel imports for the year.
Energy efficiency not only reduces emissions and consumers’ energy bills, it also improves energy security and trade balances. Energy Efficiency Market Report 2015 shows that in 2014, those investments in energy efficiency over the past 25 years saved IEA member countries USD 80 billion in fossil fuel imports. Germany alone avoided USD 30 billion in energy imports last year boosting their trade surplus by 12%, and Japan saved USD 10 billion cutting its trade deficit by 8%.
The pace of efficiency improvements is raising optimism around the feasibility of a transition to an energy system in line with limiting warming to 2 degrees. Energy intensity, or the amount of energy required to produce gross domestic product, improved by 2.3% in 2014 in OECD countries, within striking distance of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All target of 2.6% per year to stem global temperature rise.