Mandating Improved Efficiency

A Washington Post editorial argues that having better technological choices available for consumers isn’t sufficient, that we need to mandate improvements in efficiency, both in energy production and consumption.

They cite the Mckinsey report. From the executive summary (free registration necessary):

According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) research, global energy demand will grow more quickly over the next 15 years than it has in the last 15. Demand will grow at a rate of 2.2 per cent per year in our base-case scenario, boosted by developing countries and consumer-driven segments of developed economies….

MGI’s in-depth case studies indicate that there are substantial and economically viable opportunities to boost energy productivity that have not been captured—an estimated 150 QBTUs, which could represent a 15 to 25 percent cut in the end-use energy demand by 2020. This would translate into a deceleration of global energy-demand growth to less than 1 percent a year, compared with the 2.2 percent anticipated in our base-case scenario—without impacting economic growth prospects or consumer well-being….

Shifting global energy demand from its current rapid growth trajectory will require the removal of existing policy distortions; improving transparency in the pricing and usage of energy; and the selective deployment of demand-side energy policies, such as standards.

All economic analysis says we must improve efficiency (doing the same with less energy) or there are no solutions to climate change. Additionally, producing much more energy means increasing per unit costs of energy production — those who haven’t switched to compact fluorescent light bulbs are increasing my electricity bill.

Should we mandate better ideas?
Should we mandate better ideas?

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