Overcoming Barriers to Energy Efficiency: New Evidence from Independent Evaluation

Publication Date: 
April, 2011

Document Type:

Draft Briefing Note, version 8

Energy efficiency is recognized as one of the main lines of action necessary to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere and thus to limit climate change. In principle, energy efficiency is highly cost-effective and easily deployed through existing technologies. Yet actual investments in energy efficiency fall short of what is required.

An assessment of the evidence suggests that:

  • Energy efficiency investments are highly cost-effective
  • Fossil fuel subsidies discourage energy efficiency
  • The financial sector can be persuaded to provide energy efficiency loans
  • Genuine demonstration projects can transform markets
  • Biases against energy efficiency projects can be overcome
  • Monitoring of impacts needs to be improved

Based on findings from the independent evaluation departments of the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Global Environment Facility, and the World Bank Group, an ECG workshop on the subject in Manila in March 2011 and subsequent discussions.