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Technology solutions to change…

Energy Efficiency and the Fight against Climate Change

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Energy efficiency can be concisely defined as the optimizing of the percentage of energy that is consumed in useful work with regard to the total energy used or produced. This means, it has a direct bearing on our ability to refrain from wasting resources and, therefore, on their sustainable use and in the mitigation of climatic change.

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According to the definition of energy efficiency, the more generated and consumed energy there is, the greater the amount of useful work accomplished, thus keeping losses to a minimum. This is why energy efficiency can also be described as a tool that can retain the increase of our planet’s CO2 emissions.

Energy efficiency also has important synergies with renewables. Together, much more can be achieved than the sum of their parts. For instance, energy savings help renewables to meet a larger share of the energy demand at a lower cost, as well as opening up new markets. In this way, the transition from thermal energy to    non-thermal renewable energy also causes the efficiency of primary energies to improve.

Energy efficiency reduces the waste of resources, thereby leading to fewer emissions which is a positive step in the fight against climate change.

In addition, energy efficiency is a strategic instrument in transport, construction and urban management. As a result of energy efficiency measures, buildings are consuming less energy, inefficient equipment is being withdrawn from the market and labels applied to appliances such as televisions and boilers have allowed consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Public authorities, industry, SMEs and households are increasingly aware of the opportunities for saving energy.  When it comes to transport, CO2 performance requirements have reduced average emissions from new passenger cars by 40 % when compared to 2007.

The European framework complements national measures such as voluntary agreements, energy efficiency obligations, funding plans and awareness-raising campaigns. The progress made by member states in energy efficiency is reviewed annually by the European Commission.

The overall view, both at a national and European Union level, reflects a growing momentum of energy efficiency policies and measures. A significant part of this drive is backed by the trust that energy efficiency generates in terms of the economic quantifiable savings it brings.

There are favorable results: CO2 emissions have remained stable in spite of the growing demand for energy.

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The energy efficiency measures that have been implemented, together with the drop in the use of coal, have allowed CO2 emissions to remain stable, despite the fact that the global economy and the demand for energy have both grown.

This trend clearly shows the decoupling of economic development and emissions, which is an important step on the road to reducing emissions to the extent that an increase in global temperature above 2° C is avoided.

María Elena Fernández Ibáñez

María Elena Fernández Ibáñez, Managing Director of Zeroemissions

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