Navigation Links
Efforts to mitigate climate change must target energy efficiency

Much more must be done to develop energy efficient cars, buildings and domestic appliances to address climate change according to new research from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

A report published today in Nature Climate Change shows that twice as much effort is being spent on developing energy supply technologies - such as new power stations - than is spent on improving the efficiency with which energy is used.

The research shows that efficient end-use technologies have the potential to contribute large emission reductions and provide higher social returns on investment - so the imbalance in current innovation efforts must be redressed to mitigate climate change.

Dr Charlie Wilson, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA and an affiliated researcher with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), led the study with an international team of scientists from Austria and the USA.

They found that innovation efforts directed by public institutions, policies, and resources allocated overwhelmingly favour energy supply technologies. But this is at the expense of efficiency in energy end-use where the potential gains are higher.

Dr Wilson said: "About two-thirds of all public innovation efforts are directed toward energy supply technologies. It is vital that innovations in renewable energy supply continue, but the imbalance in spending needs to be redressed urgently to mitigate climate change. Evidence strongly suggests that energy end-use and efficiency currently stand as the most effective ways to mitigate climate change."

The new study assesses energy technology innovation systematically and quantifies the relative emphasis placed on energy supply technologies versus the end-use of energy.

The researchers considered three desirable outcomes of energy innovation - the potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions, broader social, environmental and energy security benefits, and the potential for technological improvements.

They found that efficiency in energy end-use outperforms supply technologies in all three areas. They occupy a greater share of energy system investments and capacity, and engage higher levels of private sector activity, they offer higher potential cost reductions, and they provide higher social returns and higher emission reduction potentials.

But the study shows a disproportionately high focus of effort invested in innovation in energy supply technologies right across the energy research and development sector.

Study co-author Prof Arnulf Grubler, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Yale University, said: "Efficiency gets short shrift in both public energy research and development, and in private market investments alike.

"In contrast, improvements in technologies like domestic appliances and more energy-efficient transport are underrepresented given their potential for mitigating climate change."

According to the International Energy Agency, the total public sector research and development spend for all energy end-use and efficiency innovations from 1974 was around $38 billion.

"This is less than the $41 billion spent on nuclear fusion alone - a single, and highly uncertain energy supply option which is still to make any contribution to a low carbon future," added Prof Grubler.

Meanwhile subsidies for fossil fuels, estimated at around $500 billion, dwarf innovation investments of around $160billion into non-fossil fuel energy.

Dr Wilson said: "Directed innovation efforts are trying to push energy supply technologies to mitigate climate change into a market that's already heavily occupied by subsidised incumbents.

"The multitude of small-scale innovations that improve end-use efficiency often go unnoticed because they don't have the glamour of solar panels and wind turbines, and they don't benefit from the well-established institutions, powerful market interests, and political influence that support supply technologies such as fossil fuels, nuclear, and wind and solar power. Yet end-use efficiency innovations have more potential and provide higher social returns on investments."

Contact: Lisa Horton
University of East Anglia

Related biology news :

1. New turtle tracking technique may aid efforts to save loggerhead
2. State stem cell research funding agency awards $37.3 million to aid UC Irvine efforts
3. 2 pioneering plant genomics efforts given a funding boost by National Science Foundation
4. NSF research alliances begin new efforts to accelerate innovation
5. Environmental groups should pool efforts to reach the public
6. Guam conservation efforts progress
7. Tamarisk biocontrol efforts get evolutionary boost
8. Researchers take hibiscus efforts to commercialization
9. Computing advances vital to sustainability efforts; new report recommends problem-focused, iterative approach to research
10. Efforts to develop new drugs that hopefully will never be used
11. Report details efforts to improve, advance indoor microbial sampling
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... -- Although some 350 companies are actively involved in molecular ... according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, Abbott ... of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according to ... Diagnostic s .    ... one company and only a handful of companies can ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris , qui s,est ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé le ... et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. Jusqu,ici, ... l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul scanner ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite ... has provided a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting ... Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that ... effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today announced ... conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ... December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... year and one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual ... November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... RALEIGH, N.C. , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., ... Raleigh, North Carolina , today announced that the company has ... earnings represented a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 ... Kingdom and Mexico , with the ... place in December 2015. --> United Kingdom ...
Breaking Biology Technology: