IEA welcomes commitment by leading countries to drive global progress on energy efficiency

NEW YORK – The International Energy Agency welcomes the commitment of 15 leading countries to accelerate progress on energy efficiency, an area where urgent action can help the world achieve key sustainable energy goals.

At the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York today, a coalition of governments, businesses and institutions – including the IEA – announced plans to work together to drive a 3% annual improvement rate in global energy intensity.

IEA analysis, which inspired the creation of the coalition, shows that a 3% improvement rate in energy intensity can deliver a significant part of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change while using existing technologies and cost-effective investments. Higher energy efficiency can also increase energy security, create jobs and cut air pollution.

The new initiative – the Three Percent Club – aims to significantly increase global momentum on energy efficiency, a critical concern since global energy efficiency progress has been slowing since 2015. The coalition is part of the IEA’s broader efforts to highlight the urgent need for policy measures to step up global progress on energy efficiency.

Immediate actions by governments and the private sector, along with increased collaboration, are needed to achieve and sustain annual energy intensity improvements of 3%. The rate of improvement is currently slowing down – last year it was just 1.3% – and only a handful of countries’ plans under the Paris Agreement include specific energy efficiency commitments.

The 15 countries participating in the Three Percent Club coalition are Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, Senegal and the United Kingdom. They are committing to using the best levers available to them to move the world onto a path of 3% annual efficiency improvement. This includes incorporating specific efficiency actions and commitments in national plans or providing financial and technical support to other countries.

“I am proud of the IEA’s key role in creating this new initiative to enhance global energy efficiency,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Energy efficiency is the one energy resource that all countries share in abundance, and it can help reduce emissions while improving people’s well-being. Our analysis shows that we can collectively achieve much higher rates of progress, and we are delighted to see the leadership and ambition set out by these countries.”

Major corporations and supporting organisations – including Danfoss, EDP, Johnson Controls, LeasePlan, Saint-Gobain, Signify, Thermo King, Trane and the Global Green Growth Initiative – are committing to take action to significantly improve the efficiency of their own operations and to support energy efficiency policy development or implementation in countries involved in the coalition.

The Three Percent Club coalition draws on the resources and expertise of the IEA, the Sustainable Energy for All Energy Efficiency Accelerators and Hub, the United Nations Environment Programme, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Global Environment Facility, and the Energy Efficiency Global Alliance.

This global commitment to driving improvement in energy efficiency through ambitious policy measures aligns with the mission of the newly established Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency. The IEA announced this high-level commission in July to jump-start policy action on energy efficiency by governments around the world. Composed of senior government figures, top business executives and energy sector thought leaders, the Global Commission will deliver a list of clear, actionable recommendations next year.