New York -- The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced a new initiative to accelerate the transition to more efficient appliances and equipment to reduce global energy demand, mitigate climate change and improve access to energy.
A worldwide shift to energy-efficient appliances and equipment - including lighting, air conditioners, refrigerators, electric motors, ceiling fans and distribution transformers - would reduce global electricity consumption by more than 10 per cent, saving US$350 billion annually in electricity bills and reducing global CO2 emissions by 1.25 billion tonnes per year.
'The launch of the Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership is a step forward towards achieving a greener energy path at a global scale. The shift to energy efficiency has become an imperative in today's world where the demand for energy continues to grow. The current fossil fuel-heavy energy system challenges global climate change mitigation efforts,' said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
'Fortunately, energy-efficient technologies, the know-how and policy frameworks required to reduce CO2 emission levels to a level consistent with the 2°C target are available and ready for deployment. This new partnership will help implement and accelerate this process,' he concluded.
Partners to the Initiative include the United Nations Development Programme, the International Copper Association, CLASP and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is a public-private partnership that brings together inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, appliance and equipment manufacturers, utilities, international development banks and financial institutions, to provide tailored assistance to governments for the development and implementation of national and regional strategies that facilitate the permanent transition to energy-efficient products.
As in most developing countries and emerging economies, the demand for energy-consuming products is increasing rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean due to the fast growing urban population. In Paraguay, the stock of domestic refrigerators will double by 2030. In Panama, the stock of air conditioners is expected to increase by 400 per cent over the same period. The trend in the region towards increasing electricity consumption and consequently, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, significantly impacts global efforts to combat climate change.
The Global Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership released a report this week that assesses the economic and climate impact of cooling appliances in the Latin American and Caribbean region. According to the study, if all Latin American and Caribbean countries were to adopt and implement energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and ceiling fans, that feature the best available technology, 140 terrawatt hours of energy could be saved annually. This represents about 11 per cent of the region's current electricity consumption. GHG emissions could be reduced by 44 million tonnes, which is equivalent to taking 24 million passenger cars off the road.
The Dominican Republic is the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to join the Global Efficient Appliances and Equipment Partnership Programme. Governments from another 15 countries in the region expressed their interest to join.
'The Dominican Republic is proud to be one of the first countries to join the global alliance. With a savings potential of more than 1.3 terawatt-hours per year, equivalent to over US$180 million, we realize the significant benefits to be gained by this partnership,' said Juan Rodríguez Nina, Executive Director of the National Energy Commission, Dominican Republic
'Nicaragua wants to reduce electricity bills and, consequently, the high cost to the national budget of subsidized energy. Leapfrogging to high efficiency refrigerators and other appliances will allow us to achieve this goal and reduce carbon emissions derived from oil combustion,' said Emilio Rapaccioli, Minister of Energy and Mines, Nicaragua.
The new global alliance supports the energy efficiency goal of the UN Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All (SE4LL) initiative. According to Fernando Cesar Ferreira, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization, OLADE, 'It is critical that international agencies join forces around the UN Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative.'
This new global partnership builds on UNEP's successful en.lighten initiative, a public-private partnership that counts ten countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 65 countries globally, as partners committed to phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps by the end of 2016.
- Over 1.2 billion people around the world do not have access to electricity
- From 1990 to 2010, improvements in energy efficiency have reduced cumulative global energy demand by over 25 per cent
- A switch to energy-efficient appliances and equipment in just the top six product sectors has the potential to reduce global electricity use by over 2,500 terrawatt-hours, more than 10 per cent of global usage
- The Efficient Appliances and Equipment Programme has estimated electricity savings equivalent to 600 large power plants and over US$500 billion worth of investments in power generation