US/China Climate Goals Could Boost Energy Efficiency

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The Alliance to Save Energy says that energy efficiency will be key to meeting US/China climate goals announced by President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in an historic pact this week.

The two nations – which account for 40 percent of world greenhouse gases – agreed to cut emissions over the next two decades.

The U.S. will build on its existing efforts to  reduce emissions with a 26-28 percent reduction by 2025 from 2005 levels. China committed to clean up its fast growing economy to reach peak emissions by no later than 2030, and to boost its  use of non-fossil fuels by 20 percent.

“Accelerating our country’s energy productivity gains — that is, growing the amount of GDP created per unit of energy consumed — will be key to meeting these ambitious goals in a way that will simultaneously advance our nation’s prosperity,” said Kateri Callahan, alliance president.

Energy efficiency policies, investments and technological advances already are decoupling energy use from economic growth, according to ASE.

Citing World Bank figures, the alliance said that China’s economy expanded 18-fold while energy consumption increased only 5-fold during 1980 to 2010.  The International Energy Agency reports that China invested more than $100 billion in energy efficiency during its 2006-2010 Five-Year Plan and expects to exceed $200 billion in the 2011-2015 Plan.

Meanwhile, the US could meet the emissions goal by doubling energy productivity by 2030, according to the alliance. This would mean $300 billion in energy savings, a boost toi GDP and  more than one million new jobs, ASE said.

“From attic insulation to Nobel Prize-winning LED advances, and from smart cars to innovative finance and business models, the opportunities to meet the new emissions’ goal while also and importantly growing the U.S. economy are tremendous if we focus on increasing our energy productivity,” Callahan said.

Callahan added: “As the two largest economies in the world look for ways to meet their climate commitments, the Alliance urges Xi and Obama to use energy efficiency first and foremost as it is the proven quickest, most easily deployable, most abundant and most cost-effective means of reducing GHG emissions.”

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