IEA: Energy efficiency progress falters amid pandemic

The International Energy Agency said that emptier flights are one of the reasons energy efficiency has slowed to its lowest rate in 10 years. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 03 December 2020

IEA: Energy efficiency progress falters amid pandemic

  • ‘Energy intensity is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent in 2020’

LONDON: Global progress toward energy efficiency has slowed to its lowest rate in 10 years due to subdued prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday, dealing a setback to efforts to curb climate change.
“As a result of the crisis and continuing low energy prices, energy intensity is expected to improve by only 0.8 percent in 2020, roughly half the rates (last year),” to levels last reached in 2010, the Paris-based watchdog said in a report.
“This is well below the level needed to achieve global climate and sustainability goals” which the group puts at more than 3 percent.
Emptier flights, cheaper fuel, distancing measures hampering building insulation upgrades and smart meter installation as well as slower car sales due to mobility restrictions explain the slowdown, the IEA said.
The agency recommended earlier this year that policymakers use the economic pause inflicted by the pandemic to prioritize renewable energy to curb carbon emissions.
But the IEA found that squeezed state and corporate budgets have led to investment in new energy-efficient buildings, equipment and vehicles being projected to be down 9 percent in 2020.
“It is especially worrying because energy efficiency delivers more than 40 percent of the reduction in energy-related greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years” according to the organization’s models, it added.


Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities

Updated 16 January 2021

Emirates stops flights to three major Australian cities

  • Flights to/from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be suspended until further notice: Emirates
  • The airline will still run two flights a week to Perth

DUBAI: Emirates has suspended flights to Australia's three largest cities as the country further restricts international arrivals over fears of new virus strains.
The Dubai-based carrier was one of the last to maintain routes into and out of the country's east coast throughout most of the pandemic but on Friday evening told travellers a handful of planned flights next week would be the last.
"Due to operational reasons, Emirates flights to/from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will be suspended until further notice," Emirates said on its website.
The airline will still run two flights a week to Perth, but the cuts are another barrier for tens of thousands of stranded Australians still attempting to return home.
The Australian government responded by announcing more repatriation flights and said other carriers still flying services to the cities could fill the gap.
"The capacity that Emirates was able to use within the cap will be allocated to other airlines, ensuring that there are still as many tickets, as many seats available into Australia," Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said.
A small number of airlines - including Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines - are still running services to Australia but local media were already reporting delays and cancellations among returning travellers.
Australia's borders have effectively been closed since March to curb the spread of the virus, with the government even limiting the number of citizens allowed to return.
Last week travel restrictions were further tightened, with arrival numbers slashed and all travellers into the country requiring a negative Covid-19 test before flying.
In making the changes, Prime Minister Scott Morrison cited a growing number of people in quarantine testing positive for new strains of Covid-19.
Fears that a variant of the virus from Britain, believed to be more contagious, had leaked into Brisbane from hotel quarantine triggered a snap lockdown in the city last week.
"There are many unknowns and uncertainties in relation to the new strain, and so that's why this precautionary approach, we believe, is very sensible," Morrison said.
Australia continues to deal relatively well with the virus, having recorded about 28,600 cases and 909 deaths linked to Covid-19 in a population of 25 million.