It is estimated that by 2050 the global population will have risen to 9.7 billion, up from 7.7 billion in 2019. The global economy is expected to more than double over the same period. Urbanization, automation and the rise of living standards will significantly increase the demand for energy globally. At the same time, we urgently need to reduce CO2 emissions to counter climate change.
If we continue with business as usual, this scale of expansion will accelerate climate change, and degrade the quality of air and water upon which all life depends. To protect the environment, we need to redouble our commitment to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.
In this context, energy efficiency is not an if, it’s a must. It is a simple and impactful solution to a multidimensional challenge, the low-hanging fruit we need to bridge our path to a future where all energy is clean energy. It represents low-hanging fruit because many of the technologies and business processes needed to improve energy efficiency globally already exist today – we just need to make more and better use of them. Energy efficiency is the ‘first fuel’ for a decarbonized future.
The benefits of greater energy efficiency go well beyond the fight against climate change and include environmental conservation, cleaner air and water, better public health, energy independence, and stronger economic growth and development.
Improving energy efficiency is simply common sense. While the challenges ahead are substantial, they are not insurmountable. With adequate investment, appropriate legislation and decisive commitment, it is possible over the coming decades to make major progress toward the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, as well as on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
To make the change, all stakeholders must work together – with both creativity and urgency – to adopt and promote available solutions and to continue to innovate for more. We need to invest in areas that help mitigate climate change and we need governments to provide supportive regulation and incentives.
To foster greater energy efficiency at scale, we need:
- Academia to intensify relevant research and to provide scientific facts to inform decision-making
- Technology companies to innovate continuously on new applications and use cases to accelerate energy efficiency improvements
- Public decision-makers and government regulators to incentivize rapid adoption of the most energy-efficient solutions and technologies
- Businesses, cities and countries to be aware of both the cost savings and environmental advantages and be willing to make required investments
- Investors to reallocate capital toward companies better prepared to address climate risk
- Others (NGO’s, policymakers, media, individuals) to use, advocate for and amplify energy efficient measures
Through innovation, sharing knowledge and insights, investments and the right regulations and incentives, we can optimize energy efficiency and help the drive toward a decarbonized future for all.
We are moving forward, but with your help we can go much further and faster.
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