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Energy Efficiency Can Buy Five Years for Climate Deal

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Adopting measures to promote energy efficiency can buy the world an additional five years to seal a climate-protection deal and would amount to a low-cost “hidden fuel,” the International Energy Agency said.

Energy efficiency can be described that way because “you can’t sell it, you can’t buy it or put it in your tank,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the Paris-based agency, said today at a presentation of its World Energy Outlook report in London. “Efficiency in energy use is just as important to our energy future as unconstrained energy supply.”

Under current policies, nations need a climate agreement by 2017, when energy infrastructure will probably produce, or lock in, all emissions allowable by 2035 at a level consistent with preventing dangerous global warming, the agency said in the report. Adopting efficiency measures now may allow the world to keep temperatures from rising 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 Fahrenheit) or even 2 degrees, the IEA said.

“Rapid deployment of energy-efficient technologies, as in our Efficient-World Scenario, would postpone this complete lock in to 2022, buying time to secure a much-needed global agreement to cut greenhouse-gas emissions,” the agency said.

United Nations envoys from almost 200 nations meet Nov. 26 in Doha to help fix a global climate deal by 2015 for the period starting 2020. Countries have so far failed to agree whether to extend or replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has emissions targets for some richer nations through this year.

Emissions Savings

Total emissions from energy in 2020 would be 32 billion metric tons in 2020 under the Efficient-World Scenario, which assumes that all improvements that are economically viable are made and regulators introduce measures to overcome barriers to efficiency, according to the IEA.

That’s 7.5 percent less than under the New Policies Scenario, the agency’s central scenario that assumes nations adopt announced policies for climate protection and energy security.

Under the efficient scenario, consumer spending on energy in 2020 will be $8.066 trillion, 5.4 percent less than under the central scenario, the IEA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at

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