Energy efficiency, key to achieving net zero emissions

At the 8th IEA World Conference on Energy Efficiency, 45 countries pledged to increase their efforts in energy efficiency, a pillar of the global energy transition towards net zero emissions by 2050. 

From June 6 to 8, the International Energy Agency (IEA) organised the 8th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Versailles, France. 

45 government representatives pledged to support policies to continue their efforts to improve the annual rate of energy efficiency globally. 


According to the report* published as part of the event, global progress in energy efficiency, as measured by improvements in primary energy intensity, increased to 2.2% in 2022, twice the average over the previous five years. Doubling efficiency improvement to above 4% per annum over this decade, to align with the IEA’s Net Zero Scenario, would lower global energy demand by 190 EJ and CO2 emissions from fuel combustion by almost 11 Gt by 2030, or almost one third of current global energy consumption and emissions. 


Global energy demand grew by around 1% in 2022. Without progress in energy efficiency, this would have been almost three times higher. 

Energy efficiency policies have strengthened globally. Major energy efficiency-related policy announcements from countries covering 

over 70% of the world’s energy consumption were introduced in 2022 and 2023. The IEA cites the United States, the European Union, Japan, India, Chile, Nigeria, Argentina and South Africa. 


The refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector is fully involved in this objective of accelerating energy efficiency. 

Sales of heat pumps increased by over 10% globally in 2022, and by nearly 40% in Europe. In France and the United States, the installation of new residential heat pumps overtook those of fossil fuel-based heating systems for the first time. 

Mandatory minimum energy efficiency performance standards (MEPS) 

are now in place in over 100 countries. Around 90% of both air conditioning and refrigeration energy consumption is covered by MEPS (compared with around 45% and 55% in 2000).  


The IIR was invited to this conference and its technical sessions. The refrigeration sector in general was the focus of several debates.