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BRICS Countries Cooperate on Energy Efficiency - Two reports have highlighted the potential for increasing energy efficiency in India and China

Energy efficiency has been high on the agenda of the BRICS group of countries, comprised of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa. In related news, two reports have highlighted the potential for increasing energy efficiency in two BRICS members, India and China.

On 5 June 2017, the Government of China, which currently holds the BRICS Presidency, convened the second meeting of the BRICS Working Group on Energy Saving and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in Beijing. As the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) reports, participants reiterated their commitment to make progress on energy efficiency, conserve resources and tackle climate change as laid out in a ‘Memorandum on Mutual Understanding in Energy Saving and Governmental Agencies of BRICS Responsible for Energy and Energy Efficiency,’ adopted at their first meeting held on 20 November 2015 in Moscow, Russian Federation.

In their joint statement, BRICS energy ministers commit to, among other actions: improve efficiency in the use of natural resources; promote energy efficiency technology to reduce the use of fossil fuels; strengthen energy security cooperation through joint research on strategic reserves, renewable energy and energy efficiency; and develop investment opportunities for the New Development Bank (NDB), especially in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. [IPEEC Press Release] [Joint Statement (unofficial translation by 48hnews)] [Memorandum of Mutual Understanding (November 2015)]

The UNEP DTU Partnership reports identify sectoral high impact opportunities in China and India based on specific technical improvements, such as more fuel-efficient cars, or changes in the mix of products and services, such as increasing the use of public transit.

The potential for increasing energy efficiency in two BRICS members, India and China, was assessed in two reports published by the Partnership between UN Environment (UNEP) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Both UNEP DTU Partnership reports identify sectoral high impact opportunities (HIOs) based on specific technical improvements, such as more fuel-efficient cars (technical HIOs), or changes in the mix of products and services, such as increasing the use of public transit (structural HIOs).

The report on India notes that in a bid to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for energy, the Government has launched numerous schemes for the transformation of cities and villages. The report identifies HIOs for the short-, medium- and long-term that support sustainable energy for all (SE4ALL) targets in several sectors. The selected HIOs include: energy efficient pumps for agriculture; LED lighting, advanced cooling systems and cleaner cooking, for the residential sector; and super-critical coal-fired power plants, renewable energy sources, storage facilities and smart grids, for the energy sector.

The report on China underlines that the country’s efforts to make rapid improvements to its energy efficiency are critical “not only to fulfilling the country’s international climate targets and domestic five-year plan targets, but also key to realizing the global goals of climate change and clean and sustainable energy development.”

The report develops an intensified energy-savings scenario that would allow China to achieve or surpass commitments laid out in its 2015 Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). Based on this scenario, the study identifies 16 technical and 10 structural HIOs in different sectors, including: waste energy recovery, in the industrial sector; improving fuel economy and introducing electric vehicles in the transportation sector; and co-generation technology and substitution of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, in the energy sector.

Both reports also assess barriers to the realization of HIOs and make recommendations on how they can be overcome. [UNEP-DTU New Release] [Enhancing Energy Efficiency in India: Assessment of Sectoral Potentials] [Enhancing Energy Efficiency in China: Assessment of Sectoral Potentials]

Efforts to achieve SDG target 7.3 (double the rate of energy efficiency by 2030) not only support the overall objective of SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, sustainable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), but also create co-benefits for mitigating climate change (SDG 13), improving health and well-being (SDG 3) through better air quality, and support efforts towards more responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).