13 October, Paris – The International Energy Agency’s annual ‘Energy Efficiency Market Report’ has found that OECD energy consumption has now been reduced to the same level as in 2000, whilst GDP has expanded by $8.5 trillion. The figures suggest that Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries have been successful in decoupling their economic growth from energy consumption, largely as a result of energy efficiency investments.
In 2014, the energy intensity of OECD member countries fell at a rate of 2.3%, almost in line with the United Nations target of 2.6% per year to 2030, set withing the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative as the level needed to tackle the impacts of climate change.
The 2.3% fall in OECD countries masks regional differences, with energy intensity in Europe (EU plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey) falling by 5.5%. The average global reduction in energy intensity was 1.1% over 2010-2013.
Energy efficiency, rather than lower productivity, has been the primary cause of reduced energy consumption in IEA members, spurred on largely by energy efficiency support policies. However, there are concerns that the current drop in fossil fuel prices may undermine the case for investments in energy efficiency.