The prevalence of coronavirus has slowed global progress in energy efficiency to the lowest level in a decade, posing a threat to the achievement of international climate goals. The Paris based International Energy Agency (IEA) said this made the next three years crucial to reversing "worrying trends".
"Global primary energy intensity (a key indicator of energy efficiency used by world economic activities) is expected to improve by less than 1% this year, the lowest since 2010," the IEA said in its 2020 energy efficiency report released on Thursday
"This is far below the level of progress needed to achieve the common global goals of addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and increasing access to energy," the report said
The IEA said global investment in energy efficiency could fall by 9% in 2020 due to the recession triggered by the global energy crisis.
"We welcome plans by governments to increase energy efficiency spending in response to the economic crisis, but what we have seen so far is uneven and far from enough," said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA
"For governments pursuing a sustainable recovery, energy efficiency should be a top priority. It's like an employment machine that drives economic activity, saves money for consumers, modernizes critical infrastructure, and reduces emissions." "There is no reason not to invest more resources."
According to the IEA, global spending on efficiency related stimulus measures announced by governments so far is estimated to create nearly 2 million full-time jobs between 2021 and 2023.
The report also said that by strengthening public and private investment in construction, transportation and industry, further energy efficiency related recovery could create another 4 million jobs worldwide.