Skip to main content

Guest Blog – FES Adjunct Professor Peter Love: Energy Efficiency and COP21

Although there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage on the recent COP21 agreement in Paris, there has been very little on how the targets that were set will be achieved.

It is certainly remarkable that this marks the first international climate agreement that has been approved “by consensus” by all 195 nations who participated. One of the few specific references to actual action was in section 110d of the Adoption component of the agreement, which encourages all countries “to make effective use of the Climate Technology Centre and Network to obtain assistance to develop economically, environmentally and socially viable proposals in the high mitigation potential areas identified by the process”.

One would hope that this network clearly identifies such “high mitigation potential areas” but they do not – at least not yet. I would certainly hope that they will give very careful consideration to the work that has been done over the last few years by McKinsey & Company, a leading global strategic management consulting firm. The “Carbon Abatement Curves” that they have developed for a number of companies estimated the potential impact on GHG emissions and life cycle cost of over 50 energy technologies. Most strikingly, almost all the energy efficiency measures they identified can be implemented at a carbon price of zero and almost all the generation/storage technologies require a carbon price of up to $120.50 CAD/tonne.

The good news is that the total net savings to society from the energy efficiency technologies is slightly more than the total costs of the supply technologies, meaning that the world has a high likelihood of keeping temperature increases to less the 2°C at a positive net life cycle cost. Here is a link to their Carbon Abatement Cost Curve.

So the message to the Climate Technology Centre and Network and to governments of all levels throughout the world is to ensure energy efficiency remains at the top of everyone’s Climate to-do list.