>World energy demand (In million tonnes of oil equivalent, Mtoe)
Global energy needs and the related emissions of gases held responsible for global warming are set to rise by almost 50 percent by 2035 under current policies (see graphic), driven by economic growth in the developing world, according to the International Energy Agency.
The challenge this poses is to deliver sufficient energy for equitable and secure social and economic development while avoiding environmental impacts that would compromise the capacity of future generations to enjoy the fruits of development.
Organizations with a focus on energy issues have identified energy efficiency as a foremost way of tackling the challenge. Highlights from the vast body of research published in recent years by international and non-governmental organizations include:
Energy-related CO2 emissions (In gigatonnes)
- Using energy more efficiently could deliver almost half of the abatement in carbon dioxide emissions required by 2035 to limit global warming to 2ºC, according to the International Energy Agency's 2010 World Energy Outlook.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in its 2007 report that in all the scenarios it considered for stabilizing the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, "60-80 percent of the reductions would come from energy supply and use, and industrial processes, with energy efficiency playing a key role in many scenarios."
- The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, representing 180 companies including ABB, says "rapidly deploying" energy efficient technologies and "significantly improving" energy efficiency in a range of areas are essential to slowing climate change (see the 2007 report Policy Directions to 2050).
- The electricity industry can contribute to sustainable development in a number of ways including by "maximising the efficiency and minimising the environmental impacts of the generation, transmission, distribution and use of the electricity in a cost-effective manner," a study produced for the United Nations Environment Programme says.
For additional links to international and non-governmental organizations, please see the right-hand column.