The Role of Energy Efficiency Policy in a 1.5 Degree World By Bridget Sobek Dobyan
In an EE Global Tech Talk entitled “Energy Efficiency Policy: The First Solution for a 1.5 Degree World?” panelists Yamina Saheb and Phillipe Benoit discussed the climate pathways and challenges around the IPCC 1.5 degree report, highlighting energy efficiency’s role as the first solution as well as the unique challenges for developing countries.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency can account for more than 40 percent of emissions reductions necessary to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Using that as the starting point for his comments, Benoit posited that we risk missing the benefits of energy efficiency on a global scale by focusing on efficiency only as climate policy, instead of economic policy. For developing countries, the primary focus is not on reducing greenhouse gas emissions but on economic growth and improving the standard of living. In looking to nations with advanced economies for a historical blueprint to achieving economic growth and improved standard of living, developing countries see energy consumption as the path forward.
As a global leader in innovation and transformative efficiency technologies, the United States – and other nations heavily invested in efficiency – must promote energy efficiency as an economic tool in achieving a higher standard of living. Education and leading by example are key – nations with advanced economies should showcase efficiency as strong economic policy, not solely as a climate mitigation strategy. In this way, the conversation shifts the focus to the more immediate priorities of developing countries to grow their economies and improve the standard of living.