An early universal consensus that has emerged among experts working on climate change is this: the world needs energy efficiency, now more than ever. Energy efficiency has a critical role to play in addressing climate change, in achieving sustainable development, and in creating human prosperity.
In October 2018, this message was amplified when the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report which assessed different scenarios for the world’s future. It concluded that the “Low Energy Demand (LED) scenario”, outlined in detail in the report, would deliver the fastest results in the most efficient manner. The LED scenario requires strategic action across four areas: reducing global energy demand; accelerating decarbonization of energy supply; increasing renewable energy; and large-scale afforestation.
Clearly, energy efficiency plays a central role in the LED scenario, with reduction in demand also lowering energy-related emissions. It was estimated that energy efficiency alone would have the potential to help countries achieve nearly 40% of the required energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions by 2040 to be in line with the Paris Agreement.
There is one global initiative which is successfully tackling these challenges head-on. The International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) is an autonomous partnership of 17 governments, including the European Commission, committed to ensuring that the energy services consumers require are delivered in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. For IPEEC members, this means capturing the economic value and social benefits associated with optimizing the production and use of energy resources.
Since 2009, IPEEC has been a dedicated platform for international collaboration on energy efficiency among major economies. This work has been focused on voluntary collaboration between member countries, tailored to their needs and priorities.
Over the past decades, IPEEC has developed strong networks with countries, international organizations, NGOs, and private stakeholders in this field by organizing high-level dialogues, conducting communications and outreach, as well as carrying out technical collaborations. These networks have led the way for IPEEC’s large-scale, high-impact action at the G20.
In 2014, G20 governments agreed to an Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP), thereby securing a position for energy efficiency on the international agenda. Two years later, G20 members adopted the enhanced Energy Efficiency Leading Programme (G20 EELP). IPEEC was selected by G20 economies to play the lead role in coordinating action under both. In this role, IPEEC works closely with the rotating G20 presidencies to promote the energy efficiency agenda and report on progress to the G20 Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG).
IPEEC’s Task Groups have been dedicated to tackling efficiency challenges across key sectors such as buildings, transport, and financing for energy efficiency. While the energy sector is vast and complex and the sector is characterized by a great deal of competition, cooperation in some areas allows everyone to advance more efficiently toward shared goals. IPEEC’s ten Task Groups have demonstrated the very best of international collaboration: how countries can come together, decide together, and act together to tackle challenges — big or small — of global importance.
IPEEC’s work over the past decade shows that ongoing, strategic cooperation among major economies, whether developed, emerging or developing, can contribute in meaningful ways to boosting energy efficiency. Yet, it is also clear that much of the full potential remains unfulfilled. Energy efficiency has enormous capability to reduce pressure on energy supply systems, deliver cost savings to people and businesses, and reduce emissions associated with energy production and use.
Looking ahead to the next decade of international energy efficiency collaboration, an accelerated pace of progress will be critical. As governments work to deliver on their national and international goals for energy and the climate, it is perhaps helpful to think of international collaboration as having characteristics similar to energy efficiency itself. As more countries engage and known solutions are deployed more broadly, the cumulative value of IPEEC’s early achievements will increase rapidly.
Additionally, the networks established will continue to ensure that the complexity of energy efficiency is tackled through the best efforts of stakeholders who can truly integrate the ‘6Ds for EE’. The 6Ds are game changers expected to make energy efficiency ‘desirable’ while acknowledging that ‘disruptive’ action is required in four vital areas — ‘decoupling’, ‘decarbonization’, ‘decentralization’, and ‘digitalization’.
IPEEC’s leadership has concluded that, in order to achieve the desired goals, collective action needs to be enhanced in four specific areas: investment, data collection for decision-making, market creation, and international collaboration.