Demand-side efficiency improvements represent nearly half of the total emissions abatement opportunity to deliver the Paris GHG emission reduction goals, particularly in the near term, while offering wider economic and social benefits. Three percent annual improvement (measured as global energy intensity) represents the opportunity (analysis shows it is achievable through good policies); the necessity (it is the rate required to deliver the Paris goals); and the commitment (to meet Sustainable Development Goal 7).
Efficiency progress has been slowing since 2015, down from almost 3% annual improvement in energy intensity to just 1.3% in 2018, and immediate policy action is required to reverse this worrying trend. Many of the policy and technology solutions are well known, yet only a minority of Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs) currently contain specific commitments to energy efficiency actions or targets. With growing pressure for stronger action on the Paris goals, revision of NDCs represents a timely and ideal intervention point to strengthen ambition on efficiency through firm policy commitments backed by private-sector and institutional commitments to provide technical and financial support.