First International Energy Efficiency Scorecard of 12 Major Economies Also Finds Germany, Italy, and Japan Ranking Highly; U.S. Behind Most Countries, Including China, France, and Australia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy, and Japan, according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds that in the last decade the U.S. has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level,” putting it in 9th place out of 12 economies around the globe.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE’s time-tested approach to energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 12 of the world’s largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These 12 economies represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63 percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 27 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) the United Kingdom; (2) Germany; (3) Italy; (4) Japan; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie); (9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia.
ACEEE divided the 27 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country—buildings, industry, and transportation. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are: Germany (national efforts); China (buildings); the United Kingdom (industry); and a tie among Italy, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom (transportation).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: “The UK and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. This is significant because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs. Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized. While many countries achieved notable success, none received a perfect score in any category – proving that there is much that all countries can still learn from each other. For example, the United States scored relatively high in buildings, but was at the bottom of the list in transportation.”
Edward Davey, British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said: “I welcome today’s publication of the first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard by ACEEE. Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to encourage low-carbon growth, and I am particularly pleased that the UK is ranked first of the 12 economies considered by the study. Making our buildings and industries more energy efficient is a significant challenge, one that will take years to meet; doing so cost effectively will mean drawing on the experiences of others. This study is a fascinating collection of best practice, setting out the innovations which can accelerate economic growth, enhance energy security – and save our households and businesses money.”
Report author and ACEEE Senior Researcher Sara Hayes said: “While energy efficiency has played a major role in the economies of developed nations for decades, cost-effective energy efficiency remains a massively underutilized energy resource. Fortunately, there is a lot countries can do to strengthen their economic competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency.”
The ACEEE ranking system looks at both “policy metrics” and “performance metrics” to measure a country’s overall energy efficiency. Examples of policy metrics include the presence of a national energy savings target, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and energy efficiency standards for appliances. The “performance metrics” measure energy use and provide quantifiable results. Examples of performance metrics include the amount of energy consumed by a country relative to its gross domestic product, average miles per gallon of on-road passenger vehicles, and energy consumed per square foot of floor space in residential buildings.
The ACEEE report raises a critical question: How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? The new report outlines a number of recommendations for the United States such as:
EDITOR’S NOTE: An electronic copy of the ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report and a high-resolution image of the report map and the ACEEE logo will be made available at http://aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard. Streaming audio of the news event proceedings will be available on the Web as of 1 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. BST on July 12, 2012.
CORRECTIONS: An earlier version of this press release ranked Italy at four and Japan at three. Italy is 3rd and Japan is 4th in the Scorecard. In the earlier release, Greg Barker was listed as the British Secretary of State for Climate Change. Edward Davey is the British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and the quote should be attributed to him. We regret these errors.