Energy efficiency is key to achieving the ambitions set out in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) announced as part of the Paris Agreement at COP21. Therefore, NDCs can be an important driver of energy efficiency, the benefits of which go beyond emissions reduction to include energy savings, economic benefits and improved health.
IEA analysis indicates that NDC targets are not in line with limiting the increase of global average temperature to well below 2°C by the end of the century. NDCs are to be revised and strengthened every five years through a process of stock-taking and ratcheting-up however, so it is vitally important to track development of new energy efficiency policies and their implementation.
Energy efficiency measures are among the most cost-effective actions to reduce emissions. Moreover, energy efficiency can be deployed quickly and is the one energy resource that all countries possess in abundance. In IEA modelling, energy efficiency makes the largest contribution to global emissions reduction. That contribution is driven by substantial efficiency gains in all end-use sectors through, for example, fuel-economy standards in the transport sector and highly efficient technologies to provide heat and steam in industry.
Strong energy efficiency policies are vital in order to address climate change and air pollution, improve energy security and increase energy access. Mandatory energy efficiency policies and regulations such as minimum energy performance standards and energy efficiency obligations have resulted in significant energy and emissions savings worldwide. Given shortening timeframes for action, policies should urgently target sectors and measures with the greatest potential.