Carbon pricing is one of the most direct ways of tackling emissions. Currently some 8% of global energy-related CO2 emissions are subject to carbon pricing. This share is expected to increase, as more...
countries and regions adopt this practice (Spotlight). However, the
roll-out is by no means free of concerns, notably on competiveness and carbon leakage.
Power plant emissions are being regulated in a number of countries. Regulations limiting
emissions from new power plants, which would have an impact particularly on investment
in new conventional coal generation, have been proposed by the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). New standards are also expected to be promulgated for existing
plants. US EPA regulations targeting conventional pollutants are also expected to promote
modernisation of the power generation meet (though they may face legal challenge).
Canada has introduced regulations for new power plants that rule out new conventional
coal investment. High levels of local pollution continue to be a significant issue for some of China's largest cities and the government has stipulated mandatory reductions in
sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions per kilowatt-hour (kwh) of power generated by coal-tired power plants and a target to cut by at least 30% the emissions
intensity of particulate matter (PM2.5) coming from energy production and use. These national measures will all have associated climate change benefits.
Although WEO-2012 demonstrated that only a fraction of the available energy efficiency benefits are currently being realised, fortunately, many countries are taking new steps
to tap this potential. In early 2013, the US government announced a goal to double
energy productivity by 2030. WEO-2012 had already highlighted the contribution new fuel-economy standards could make in moving the United States towards lower import needs and the question now is whether similar effects can be achieved in other sectors of the economy. The US Department of Energy has put in place in recent years energy efficiency standards for a wide range of products, including air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines. More standards are expected to come into force for efficiency in buildings and appliances. The European Union has adopted an Energy Effciency Directive, to support its target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 and pave the way for further improvements beyond this. In China, the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) includes indicative caps on total energy consumption and on power consumption for 2015. There are also mandatory targets to reduce the energy intensity of the economy by 16% and to reduce CO2 emissions per unit GDP by 17% of the first time a CO2 target has been set. China has published energy efficiency plans consistent with the 12th Five-year Plan, including the "Top 10 000" programme that sets energy savings targets by 2015 for the largest industrial consumers. In India, a National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency has been launched, aimed at restraining growth in energy demand. India's "Perform Achieve and Trade" mandatory trading system for energy effciency obligations in some industries was launched in 2011, and is a key element in plans to deliver its pledge to reduce carbon intensity by 20-25% by 2020 (from 2005 levels).
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