UK "must improve" energy efficiency

More political, economic, commitment to efficiency needed, says International Energy Agency

The UK needs more political commitment and funding for energy efficiency programmes, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report released yesterday. The IEA reviews the energy policy of its member states every 4 years. Its latest UK report criticises the performance of national energy efficiency measures. A spokesperson described them as "fairly weak". In particular, energy efficiency standards for new buildings are below those in other northern European countries and many existing buildings are poorly insulated, the organisation states. According to the IEA, this is significant as energy efficiency will need to play a greater role in achieving future greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The UK has committed to cut emissions by 12.5% under the Kyoto Protocol, and the government has unilaterally promised a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions. Reductions to date have mainly been achieved by replacing coal with gas-fired power stations, and the IEA states that only "limited potential" for fuel switching remains. Meanwhile, the agency praises the UK for extensively liberalising its energy markets, an area in which the country is ahead of an EU-wide trend.

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