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Efforts to mitigate climate change must target energy efficiency
Date:10/26/2012

sion 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 th
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Contact: Lisa Horton
l.horton@uea.ac.uk
44-016-035-92764
University of East Anglia
Source:Eurekalert

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