Energy efficiency potentials for global climate change mitigation
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Energy efficiency is one of the main options for mitigating climate change. An accurate representation of various mechanisms of energy efficiency is vital for the assessment of its realistic potential. Results of a questionnaire show that the EMF27 models collectively represent known channels of energy efficiency reasonably well, addressing issues of energy efficiency barriers and rebound effects. The majority of models, including general equilibrium models, have an explicit end-use representation for the transportation sector. All participating partial equilibrium models have some capability of reflecting the actual market behavior of consumers and firms. The EMF27 results show that energy intensity declines faster under climate policy than under a baseline scenario. With a climate policy roughly consistent with a global warming of two degrees, the median annual improvement rate of energy intensity for 2010–2030 reaches 2.3 % per year [with a full model range of 1.3–2.9 %/yr], much faster than the historical rate of 1.3 % per year. The improvement rate increases further if technology is constrained. The results suggest that the target of the United Nations’ “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative is consistent with the 2-degree climate change target, as long as there are no technology constraints. The rate of energy intensity decline varies significantly across models, with larger variations at the regional and sectoral levels. Decomposition of the transportation sector down to a service level for a subset of models reveals that to achieve energy efficiency, a general equilibrium model tends to reduce service demands while partial equilibrium models favor technical substitution.
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