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Business has made giant strides in energy efficiency

JOHANNESBURG, 28 August 2002 – Industrial, commercial and consumer equipment today can be as much as 80% more energy efficient than equipment installed as recently as 20 years ago.

The assessment came in a detailed outline of an energy industry approach to sustainable development presented today at the energy plenary session of the Earth Summit.

The presentation by the International Chamber of Commerce was drawn up by ICC’s Energy Committee, bringing together corporate experts from a wide range of energy-related industries.

The Finnish Chairman of the ICC Committee, Juhani Santaholma, said: “The cumulative effect of improvements in energy efficiency is highly impressive, even though these advances rarely make headlines. Business has made giant strides”

He said that greater energy efficiency could produce direct environmental benefits, not only reducing pollution, but also delaying the need to develop new fuel resources. These improvements could also reduce the cost of pollution abatement considerably.

The ICC report noted that energy efficiency could also be increased at the point of consumption. As an example, it noted that compact fluorescent lamps use 78% less electricity than conventional light bulbs, and last much longer, while providing just as much light.

“The ability to use the full range of market-based energy and energy technology resources along with cleaner technologies and fuel systems, will help drive the innovation needed to optimize business and societal activities within the framework of sustainable development,” ICC said.

The ICC energy experts said energy should be a vital part of partnerships between governments, business and civil society – described at the summit as “Type 2” partnerships to distinguish them from “Type 1” agreements between governments.

But the report emphasized that in participating in such partnerships, companies had to act on a commercial basis. “From the point of view of the ICC, doing business is crucial for the attractiveness of partnerships involving business and industry.”

On security of energy supply, the ICC Energy Committee said: “All energy options should be kept open throughout the present century.” The report listed emerging technologies, such as clean coal technology, carbon dioxide sequestering technologies , advanced nuclear reactors with further improved safety features, synthetic gasoline and diesel oil as well as carbon-free alternatives for fuelling the transport sectors.

Mr Santaholma said: “During this century, business and industry will be the source of innovation, commercialization and global distribution of new technologies that will enable society to aim for the target of sustainable growth, while continuing to satisfy people’s hopes and aspirations for a more prosperous future.”

He concluded: “An enormous effort in research and development will be needed if the world is to have a sustainable overall energy future.”