Energy efficiency: New global high-level commission for urgent action

The panel will focus on key policy actions that can be taken by countries across the globe

Big Zero Report 2022

An independent high-level global commission to examine how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action has been established.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will be the honorary chair and Irish Communications, Climate Action and Environment Minister Richard Bruton will chair the ongoing work of the IEA Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency.

Members include current and former ministers for energy and environment from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Morocco, New Zealand and Spain.

Business leaders taking part include Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, Siemens CEO of Gas and Power Lisa Davis, Mr Gil Quiniones, President of the New York Power Authority and Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute in India.

The IEA says energy efficiency has a central role to play in meeting global sustainable energy goals and estimates the economy could double in size by 2040 while still maintaining “broadly the same level of energy use as today” with the right policies in place.

That could help the world achieve more than 40% of the emissions reductions needed to reach international climate goals using cost-effective technologies already available.

However, it adds policy implementation has slowed and warns efficiency progress is weakening, with the world seeing an increase in energy-related carbon emissions last year at their highest rate since 2013 and air pollution continuing to be linked to millions of premature deaths every year.

The panel will focus on key policy actions that can be taken by countries across the globe.

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol said: “It is imperative that we get global energy efficiency progress back on track. I’m delighted that Prime Minister Varadkar and other eminent figures from around the world have agreed to commit their energy and ideas to this vital project.

“The IEA sees energy efficiency as critical for successful clean energy transitions. It has huge potential to start making an immediate difference if governments act now and act decisively.”

Additional Information

Honorary Chair

  • Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister, Ireland


  • Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission
  • Richard Bruton, Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland
  • Nick Butler, Visiting Professor, King’s College London
  • Lisa Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Gas and Power, Siemens AG
  • Connie Hedegaard, Former Commissioner for Climate Action, European Union
  • Michael Liebreich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Liebreich Associates
  • Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, India
  • Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, Morocco
  • Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Minister for Ecological Transition, Spain
  • Gil C. Quiniones, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority
  • Adam Sieminski, President, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Saudi Arabia
  • Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan
  • Jürgen Trittin, Member of the Bundestag and Former Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • Claude Turmes, Minister for Energy and Minister for Spatial Planning, Luxembourg
  • Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Dutch Shell
  • Dr Wan Gang, Previous Minister of Science and Technology, China
  • Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Energy and Resources, New Zealand
  • Dr Kandeh Yumkella Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All

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