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The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) today announced a new initiative to accelerate the transition to high-efficiency appliances and equipment, with the goal of reducing global energy demand, mitigating climate change, and improving access to energy.
The global transition to highly efficient appliances and equipment - including lamps, air conditioners, refrigerators, electric motors, ceiling fans, and distribution transformers - would reduce global electricity consumption by more than 10 percent, saving $ 350 billion annually. in electricity bills and reducing global CO2 emissions by 1.25 billion tons per year.
“The launch of the Alliance for Efficient Home Appliances and Equipment is a step forward in achieving greener energy consumption patterns globally. The move to efficient energy has become an imperative in our world today, where energy demand is continually increasing. The current energy system, with a heavy consumption of fossil fuels, is an obstacle to global efforts to mitigate climate change, ”said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“Fortunately, the energy efficient technologies, know-how and regulatory frameworks required to reduce CO2 emissions to a level consistent with the 2 ° C target are now available and ready to go. This new alliance will help implement and accelerate this process ”, he concluded.
The partners of this initiative include the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Copper Association, CLASP and the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources. The alliance is a public-private collaboration that brings together intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, manufacturers of electrical appliances and equipment, electrical service companies, international development banks and financial institutions, with the objective of providing specific technical assistance to governments for development and implementation of national and regional strategies that facilitate the permanent transition to highly energy efficient products.
As in most developing and emerging countries, the demand for energy-consuming products is growing rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean, given the accelerated growth of the urban population. In Paraguay, for example, it is estimated that the number of domestic refrigerators will double by 2030. In turn, in Panama, the number of air conditioning equipment is expected to increase by 400 percent during the same year. period. The trend in the region towards increasing electricity consumption and, consequently, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has a significant impact on global efforts to combat climate change.
The Global Alliance for Efficient Home Appliances and Equipment published a report this week evaluating the economic and climate impact of refrigeration equipment in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the study, if all the countries in the region adopted and implemented minimum energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and ceiling fans promoting the use of the best technologies available in the market, the region would save approximately 140 terawatt-hours per year, a value that represents 11 percent of current electricity consumption in the region. Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 44 million tons of carbon dioxide, which would be equivalent to taking some 24 million medium-sized vehicles off the streets.
The Dominican Republic is the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to join the Global Alliance for Efficient Home Appliances and Equipment. The governments of 15 other countries in the region have already expressed interest in partnering.
"The Dominican Republic is proud to be one of the first countries to join the Global Alliance. With a potential savings of more than 1.3 terawatt-hours per year, which is equivalent to more than $ 180 million dollars, we realize that the important benefits that can be obtained by joining this program ", expressed Juan Rodríguez Nina, Executive Director of the National Energy Commission of the Dominican Republic.
"Nicaragua wants to reduce electricity bills and, consequently, the high cost to the national budget of subsidized energy. The jump to high-efficiency refrigerators and other appliances will allow us to achieve this goal, while reducing the derived carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, "said Emilio Rapaccioli, Minister of Energy and Mines of Nicaragua.
The new global alliance supports the energy efficiency goal of the United Nations Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. According to Fernando César Ferreira, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), "it is essential that international organizations join forces around the Sustainable Energy for All initiative."
This new Global Alliance is nurtured by the experience and success of the en.lighten initiative, a public-private collaboration that brings together 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 65 countries around the world. This group of countries have committed to the elimination of incandescent bulbs before the end of 2016.