With fresh evidence from the IPCC that climate change is almost certainly caused by humans, action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is becoming an even more pressing issue.
It’s my firm belief that industry is perhaps one of the best placed to cut energy use and tackle rising emissions. Improving energy efficiency in the world’s factories and industrial facilities will be key to achieving this.
Energy efficiency is one of the best short-term solutions on offer – and there is the technology in place to do it now. It’s not just good for the environment. There are also significant benefits for enterprises employing energy efficiency measures. Enterprises that have good energy management can save 10-30 percent of their annual energy use – and therefore their energy budget. Energy management involves implementing a wide range of measures across the whole facility, such as undertaking energy audits, measuring and reporting energy use, developing an action plan and training staff. Once in place, these processes don’t just save money; they can also improve the manufacturer’s operational efficiency, productivity and risk management.
Research undertaken by the IEA shows energy efficiency could reduce global industrial energy use by over 25 percent. If realized, that potential represents an 8 percent reduction in global energy use and a 12.4 percent reduction in global CO2 emissions. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of 800 million passenger vehicles, 1,100 coal-fired plants, nearly 600 million homes, or 1.5 billion tons of waste.
Improving industrial energy efficiency would also accelerate a major shift away from outdated electric utility business models and help usher in an era of smart power. In fact, increasingly aggressive standards and targets for industrial and energy utility companies in some countries are already starting to drive a transition away from fossil fuels and incentivizing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
We expect to see this happening more and more in coming years, particularly as new technology and innovations keep pace with growing demand for green industry and clean energy.
The latest IPCC report certainly offered a sobering reminder to us all to look at our energy use. We hope that this recent scientific analysis will now focus the world’s energy more on taking action than continuing to question the science.
Jigar V. Shah, Executive Director
*All figures provided in this release are based on IEA data.