India Should Mandate Efficient Fridges, Gas Stoves: Birol

Energy labels showing the efficiency levels of refrigerators and clean-cooking systems should be mandatory in India, a country of 1.2 billion where about a quarter lack electricity, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency said.

Such inefficiencies are a “major issue” in Asia’s third-largest economy, which has few required energy-saving policies, Fatih Birol said Monday in an interview. Highlighting better-performing refrigeration systems and gas stoves that are less polluting than alternatives should be mandated, he said.

India is preparing to submit its pledge to slash polluting greenhouse-gas emissions ahead of United Nations talks in Paris in December. The talks pool envoys from some 190 developed and developing nations working on a global deal to share the burden of emissions cuts to keep temperatures from rising beyond the safe 2-degree Celsius limit.

Pledges to date, which account for about a third of global emissions, are a step in the right direction “but they are not yet enough,” the economist said.

India should only allow the building of new coal-fired power plants that use the most efficient technolologies, Birol also said.

‘Not Yet Enough’

The IEA on Monday presented recommendations for policymakers that it hopes will feed into the Paris talks. Capping dirty emissions by 2020 is “a must” to keep temperatures from rising above the safe ceiling, Birol said. That can be achieved using existing technologies and without harming economic growth, he said.

The report recommends doubling clean-energy investments to $400 billion by 2030, boosting efficiency measures, halting new coal-fired power plants and trimming subsidies to fossil fuels that currently amount to as much as $500 billion, Birol said. Subsidies for coal, oil and gas are making the price of dirty forms of energy “artificially cheap” and threaten to eclipse the growth of power from cleaner sources, Birol said.

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