IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven

11 June 2013 — The International Energy Agency has launched a report stating that energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport is the most important strategy for limiting dangerous climate change.

The report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, states that governments are not on track to meet emissions targets, and estimates significant increases in average global temperatures if countermeasures are not taken.

“If we continue with business as usual, that rise could be 5.3 degrees Celsius, with potentially disastrous implications in terms of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and the huge economic and social costs that these can bring,” said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven at the report’s launch in London.

The report sets out four cost-neutral policies to limit warming to 2°C – the 4-for-2°C Scenario – and states that targeted energy efficiency measures in buildings, industry and transport could contribute half of the emissions reductions needed by 2020.

Other measures include limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants; actions to halve methane releases into the atmosphere from the oil and gas industry; and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

“Not only will acting on these policies save long-term costs to society as a whole, but the energy sector itself will see benefits in terms of reduced risks to infrastructure and projects,” said Ms van der Hoeven.

“The question is not whether we can afford the necessary investments given the current economic climate. The fact is we simply cannot afford to delay.”