2020 Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency

202Convened by the Executive Director of the IEA in response to the global slowdown of energy efficiency progress, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency was established in June 2019 at the IEA’s Fourth Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland. In June 2020 the Commission released 10 urgent recommendations, along four cross cutting themes:

Action to build scale quickly - A key requirement to achieving urgent action on energy efficiency is the ability to scale up solutions quickly. Achieving energy efficiency outcomes rapidly and at scale will support Covid-19 recovery efforts as well as longer-term economic, energy and environmental goals. The energy efficiency policy and market environment today is much different to those following the 2009 Global Financial Crisis – for example, today, many of the foundational elements for a rapid scaling of energy efficiency are in place, including best-in-class policy options, cost-effective technologies, robust supply chains, and sustainable business models.

Governance and Implementation - Energy efficiency presents some unique challenges in its delivery, which is why so much cost-effective potential remains untapped. Unlike other energy sectors, many of the technologies needed for transformation exist, are affordable, and offer very good returns on investment. Many of the barriers preventing uptake are issues of practicality. Key barriers typically take the form of regulatory hurdles, socio-behavioural norms, and misaligned financial incentives. This makes the project of accelerating energy efficiency one of implementation, i.e. practice rather than theory, therefore requiring a crosscutting, action-oriented effort.


People and narratives - Energy efficiency is inextricably linked to the motivations and behaviour of individuals – people’s decisions regarding investment in and use of energy consuming equipment, buildings and vehicles are influenced by awareness and attitudes, which in turn can be influenced by designing behaviour-informed policies and creating the right narratives to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency.

Learning from Global Best Practice - Policy experience in energy efficiency is rich and extensive, and policy makers have much to learn from each other in policy selection, design and implementation, adapting to local circumstances and preferences as appropriate. This learning from the world’s best policy experiences lies at the heart of the recommendations of the Global Commission: drawing on knowledge from what has worked, and what has not, to build a set of policy options for governments to consider when they expand and strengthen their efficiency policy portfolio.