One of the main objectives of the international framework of the European Union of 2030 is to achieve at least 55% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990. In addition, to meet the objective against climate change requires doubling in this decade the energy efficiency effort obtained in 2022, because it was double the average of the previous five years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Faced with this situation, the Agency warns that in order to comply, efforts must be duplicated.
In a report published this Tuesday, the IEA explains that last year the advance in efficiency, measured in improvements in energy intensity, was 2.2%, and this was largely due to a very particular geopolitical context marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. , which uses an escalation in the prices of hydrocarbons.
This geopolitical context was noted above all in Europe, which was the region of the world where, by necessity or by political will, more efforts were made to save energy. And that translated into an increase of more than 8% in energy efficiency.
Policy changes to see progression
This 8% jump, however, is biased because the Old Continent had a particularly mild winter and because there was a contraction in activity in some sectors. If these biases are removed, the increase in efficiency was, in any case, 4%.
The authors of the study point out that, without changes in current policies, the annual progression of that efficiency in the world for the period 2021-2030 would be around 2.4% and the demand for energy would rise at a rate of 1% per year. like in 2022.
Efficiency advances slowly
In short, that would achieve only half of the energy savings that would need to be achieved to achieve a net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions scenario by 2050, which can allow climate warming of less than two degrees. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreements on climate change, action in terms of energy will have to be accelerated to a cruising speed of 4.3% per year this decade, the report insisted.
A scenario that, according to the IEA, not only “can be done”, but in addition to the climate benefits, would provide other advantages, such as the creation of 12 million new jobs by 2030, the reduction of energy poverty (80 million more people will have access to electricity) or cutting energy bills.
In addition, one of the conditions to accelerate the march is to triple the volume of investments in energy efficiency to go from 600,000 million dollars last year, when there was an increase of 16% compared to 2021, to 1.8 trillion by 2030. .
Record investments, but insufficient
The problem is that the agency believes that in 2023 the rate of increase will slow down to 4%, although the global figure will be a new record with 624,000 million dollars. And that, with the policies announced so far, the expected increase until 2030 would be limited to 50% with 910,000 million dollars. That is, half of what is necessary.
The authors of the study emphasize that different technologies that favor efficiency are gaining ground. He cites in particular the fact that last year sales of heat pumps grew by 10% worldwide and up to almost 40% in Europe.
Also that in the first quarter of this year 2.3 million electric vehicles have been sold, 25% more than in the same period of 2022, and that for the whole of 2023 it is estimated that there will be 14 million, which will represent a market share of 18%, clearly above the 14% of last year.
If heavy vehicles are added, the total investment in electric vehicles is going to more than double between 2021 and 2023, when it reaches 130,000 million dollars.
This study is published coinciding with the organization by the IEA and France of a conference on energy efficiency in Versailles that brings together dozens of ministers, multinational leaders and experts, and which will last until Thursday.