Energy efficiency: the net-zero no-brainer that has come of age

(Context, 19 Jan 2024) Energy efficiency has been recognised as a key piece of the net-zero puzzle but faster uptake of existing technologies is needed.

If last year's COP28 climate talks signalled the beginning of the end for the production and use of fossil fuels, they also marked a coming of age for energy efficiency, hailed as the "first fuel" in the transition to a greener future. 

As well as committing to triple installed renewable energy generation capacity, nearly 200 countries pledged to double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. That would raise it from around 2% now to over 4%.

Cutting back energy use is the cheapest, most effective way to save on bills, while also reducing carbon emissions to slow the pace of global warming, according to energy experts.

"As the Americans say, it's a 'no brainer'," Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said during a discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.

Campaigners, however, say red tape, knowledge gaps and limited financing are holding up the energy efficiency revolution.

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Context, 19 Jan 2024: Energy efficiency: the net-zero no-brainer that has come of age