IEA says world more energy efficient despite really cheap oil

Jessica Morris
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Last year's gains came despite very low energy prices (Source: Getty)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said today that the world's economies used less energy to grow last year despite low oil and natural gas prices.

Energy intensity — the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product — rose by 1.8 per cent last year, according to a new report by the IEA. This beat a gain of 1.5 per cent in 2014, and was triple the average rate for the past decade.

It added that last year's gains came despite very low energy prices which usually dampens enthusiasm for energy savings.

"Energy efficiency is the one energy resource that all countries possess in abundance," Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said.

"I welcome the improvement in global energy efficiency, particularly at a time of lower energy prices. This is a sign that many governments push the energy efficiency policies, and it works."

However, the IEA said that more must be achieved in terms of energy efficiency if the world is to meet its green goals.

Global energy intensity improvements must hit at least 2.6 per cent per year to put the world on a sustained pathway for a decarbonised energy system, according to the report.

"Energy efficiency is far from fulfilling its potential. Globally, two-thirds of the economic potential remains untapped. An entire 70 per cent of the world's energy use takes place outside of any efficiency performance requirements," Birol added.

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