Rising global temperatures and extreme weather events underscore the need for aggressive action on the climate crisis. For more than twenty years now, CLASP has been supporting governments to advance appliance efficiency policies that are proven approaches to avoiding CO2 emissions and managing energy demand. A global transition to efficient appliances and equipment would cut more than 1 Gt of carbon emissions per year and save more than USD 200 billion annually on electricity bills.
Now, a new analysis by CLASP finds that appliance standards and labeling policies deliver major climate benefits well below the social cost of carbon. The report, Pennies per Pound: The Return on Investment from Appliance Efficiency Technical Assistance, finds that appliance efficiency policies deliver major climate benefits for a minimal investment. For each of the 10 case studies assessed within the report, the administrative costs required to achieve a one-ton reduction in CO2e ranged from less than one cent per ton to USD 1 per ton, much less than the US social cost of carbon at USD 51 per ton.
The report contributes to the mounting evidence base that appliance efficiency is a worthwhile investment for governments, complementing a new analysis by the International Energy Agency. Achievements of Energy Efficiency Appliance and Equipment Standards and Labelling Programs surfaces the successes of appliance
energy efficiency, finding that such policies save consumers billions of dollars and avoid hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 emissions each year.
Despite efficiency’s promise, policy progress has slowed in recent years. The IEA notes that “about %35 of energy use in buildings was covered by policies in 2018, only a slight improvement from the %34 coverage in 2017…This reflects a worrying overall trend in buildings energy policy coverage, as annual rates of improvement have diminished from %8-5 in the 2000s to %3-2 in recent years.”
In response to this stagnation, UK BEIS, the SEAD Initiative, CLASP, and IEA are supporting a global campaign seeking to drum up momentum for appliance efficiency in the lead- up to COP26. The Product Efficiency Call to Action calls on governments to double the efficiency of four high-priority appliances – air conditioners, refrigerators, industrial motors and lighting – and by doing so avoid 4,600 TWh of energy demand in 2030.
If the world stands a chance of meeting critical climate mitigation goals, policymakers must take decisive action to address rising energy demand and carbon emissions.
There is an urgent need to raise collective ambition and spur meaningful action on appliance energy efficiency policy worldwide, particularly in major and growing economies. Our analysis in Pennies Per Pound provides conclusive evidence that appliance energy efficiency policies are a smart investment for governments, enabling them to maximize climate impacts at a minimal cost.
To further assist governments, CLASP has developed several resources and tools to support data-driven, internationally informed policy decisions.
Chief Executive Officer, CLASP