At the Gleneagles summit in 2005, G8 leaders addressed the challenges of climate change and securing clean energy and sustainable development. Agreeing to act with resolve and urgency, they adopted a Plan of Action which included energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, transport and industry.
Since then, research and analysis at the International Energy Agency has shown that improving energy efficiency is the most cost-effective concrete action governments can take in the short term to address climate change and energy security concerns and to reduce energy consumption. For example, results of analysis outlined in the IEA publication Energy Technology Perspectives 2006 identify energy efficiency gains as "the first priority for a more sustainable energy future".
The residential sector alone currently accounts for 30% of all electricity consumed in OECD countries, corresponding to 21% of energy-related CO2 emissions.
Many countries have implemented energy efficiency policies in many sectors over the years, in some cases for several decades. Such programmes, including combinations of mandatory and voluntary schemes, may be highly effective in raising the market share of the most efficient equipment and appliances, and in paving the way for new efficient technology.
However, the uptake of efficient electrical end-use equipment is hampered by the presence of multiple barriers which isolate consumers from the consequences of their energy choices, including:
In addition, as electrical equipment is traded globally, international co-operation and coordination will be vital to ensuring coherent, efficient action. The need for further global co-operation and development of energy efficiency policies is widely recognised by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the G8, the Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) Initiative, the Marrakech Accord, the European Commission (EC) international energy efficiency initiative and in other international context.
The 4E will integrate and continue activities previously undertaken by the Group of Energy Efficient Appliances (GEEA) aiming at promoting the best appliances at the market. The 4E will also build on progress made in the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP), in the International Task Force for Sustainable Products (ITSFP) and other relevant international co-operative efforts.
Therefore a platform is urgently needed for countries to share expertise, to ensure coordination of international initiatives aimed at implementing efficiency improvements in electrical equipment. The IEA Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme on Efficient Electrical End-use Equipment (4E) is designed to fill this gap.