Improving energy efficiency not only reduces emissions, but also increases energy savings by contributing to economic growth and social development
During the second Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) on energy efficiency organised in Bonn on June 5-6 as part of the United Nations climate change conference, experts presented their ideas on energy efficiency for urban environment, especially lighting system and sustainable urban transport.
TEM's objective is to assist participants with climate change by advancing the implementation of improved policy options and technologies.
Various studies have shown the advantages of using smart measures for saving and reducing energy demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its report “Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map” published in 2013, states that “adopting energy-efficiency measures would reduce global energy-related emissions by 1.5 gigatonne of carbon dioxide (C02) equivalent in 2020”.
The fact is that more than 50 per cent of the world's population lives in urban areas and these places account for 75 per cent of energy use and 80 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions. Reducing urban emissions and efficient energy use should be high priorities for every country, participants at TEM agreed.
Steps towards energy efficiency
There is enormous potential in achieving greater energy efficiency. A transformation towards light-emitting diode (LED) can supply power to 1.5 billion households. However, participants at TEM believe that there is still a long way to go for bringing about this transformation.
Klaus Gihr, who represented the German Development Bank, questioned the need for energy subsidy. “In countries with high-energy subsidies, there is no level playing field for investors. We need to wean off energy subsidies to give a boost to energy efficiency.”
The transition towards LED is not without challenges. Proper planning is the first step since implementation of this measure will take time and need political, institutional and financial support.
Maryke van Staden from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability spoke about the support available to local governments in case of Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG). It offers a robust and clear framework that builds on existing methodologies for calculating and reporting city-wide GHG emissions.
Improving energy efficiency has numerous benefits. Not only does it reduce or avoid GHG emissions, but it also increases energy savings. These measures contribute to economic growth and social development by increasing economic output, employment and energy security, participants agreed.
Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted the public health risk associated with the use of biomass for cooking and kerosene oil for lighting. “Many of the same actions that societies need to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also help to address some of our largest public health risks, particularly non-communicable diseases,” he said.
The meeting concluded on the note that energy efficiency should also be brought about to mitigate the negative effects of emissions.
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