It is cost-effiective, cross-cutting, and can benefit all individuals and communities around the world. Through energy efficiency, countries can achieve up to a third of the energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions necessary by 2030 to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. This is the single largest contribution to global reductions, greater even than that from renewable
energy. To realize this potential, however, energy efficiency action must be undertaken at a truly international level – and this is where IPEEC and the G20 have a big role to play.
The International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) is an autonomous partnership of 16 major economies dedicated solely to promoting global cooperation on energy efficiency. Representing member nations that together account for over 80 percent of global energy use and 85 percent of GHG emissions, it has since 2014 been coordinating the G20’s energy efficiency activities under the group’s two plans – the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2014) and the newly-endorsed G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme (EELP, 2016) -, which are both voluntary and provide a flexible mechanism for cooperation by countries on energy efficiency topics that are in-line with their ambitions and national priorities. The new EELP in particular is important because it gives energy efficiency just what it needs: time. It provides the timeframe necessary to realize results, since energy efficiency must be envisioned and supported over a long time to give the opportunity for projects to mature and bear the best outcomes. It is also a dynamic process that must be continuously engaged with, since the low-hanging fruits of energy efficiency, once picked, grow back. By providing a long-term framework, the EELP puts the G20 on a path to realize the level of energy efficiency action the world needs in the coming years. Most importantly, the EELP shows the very best of international collaboration: how countries can discuss, decide, and act together to do more for the world. This is as true for the G20 as it is for other international cooperation, like the Conference of Parties (COP) process. Strengthened international action on energy efficiency can make a real difference for economies and climate change, individuals and businesses. This is because energy efficiency never comes out of a vacuum. To become reality, energy efficiency requires a set of ingredients: political willingness, special human, technical and institutional capacities, massive data gathering and analysis, and dedicated tools and instruments such as metrics, ratings, and monitoring. International cooperation can provide the crucial first step for all of this by creating the right environment for exchange and collaboration, and by giving the political signal that energy efficiency is important and must be taken further – as was the case with the Paris Agreement and the G20 energy efficiency plans. It is true that energy efficiency is by nature domestic and very local, and its solutions are the results of very granular decisions and investments. International cooperation however does not seek to replace or to supersede national policies. Instead, when properly established, collaboration can accelerate the exchange of information, technical opportunities for regional harmonization, and mobilization of key partners by national governments – typically financial institutions. International collaboration can therefore greatly accelerate the adoption and implementation of domestic energy efficiency policies. Thanks to the G20 EELP and the Paris Agreement, we are better placed now to make the most of the opportunities before us, and IPEEC is ready to play its part in these efforts. We must not forget that it took many years for energy efficiency to gain the attention it deserves, and more, always more, can be and must be done to create a sustainable future. In particular, we need to increase financial flows toward energy efficiency investments and build technical capacity to gather and analyze more data and metrics. We must also look to helping developing countries make technical strides, and in this perhaps there is an
opportunity in climate finance, especially under the Paris Agreement. We have drawn the map. Now all we must do is follow it towards a more sustainable, prosperous world.
Executive Director, IPEEC