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The World’s Energy Systems Are Far Away From Being Environmentally Sustainable, Warns World Energy Council/Oliver Wyman Report

A growing environmentally sustainable energy gap threatens global economic growth and a transition to a more low-carbon future, according to a global ranking of countries’ energy sustainability released today by the World Energy Council and Oliver Wyman at the COP 18 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar.

The World Energy Council/Oliver Wyman Energy Sustainability Index shows that most of over 90 countries assessed are still far away from achieving fully sustainable energy systems at a time when the supply of environmentally sustainable energy lags significantly behind rapidly rising demand globally. The World Energy Trilemma refers to the struggle that governments face in providing energy that is secure, affordable, and environmentally-sound.

Mark Robson, Partner of Oliver Wyman and a report author, says:"We have a real problem here. We’re taking too long to create the environment needed to develop sustainable energy systems. Energy policymakers and the industry urgently need to work together to make the hard decisions necessary build the infrastructure needed today to support sustainable energy systems which are crucial for future economic growth.”

“Businesses must be assured that the economics of their investments won’t be destroyed by changes in energy policy. This policy risk is a key factor holding back energy investments today."

Pierre Gadonneix, Chairman of the World Energy Council, says:“The message of the Energy Sustainability Index is clear: all countries are facing challenges in their transition towards more secure, environmentally-friendly, and equitable energy systems. If we are to have any chance of delivering sustainable energy for all and meeting the +2oc goal, we need to get real.”

Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the World Energy Trilemma report, says:“Much still needs to be done to make our energy systems sustainable, but there is good news. As our Energy Sustainability Index shows, countries that use a larger share of low-carbon energy such as renewables and nuclear as part of a diversified energy mix tend to perform better.”

Key report findings include:
  • No country is a world leader in providing secure, affordable, and environmentally-sound energy
  • The top 10 performing countries in the WEC/OW energy sustainability index are Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, France and Austria, respectively. However, even top performers face challenges
  • Encouraging environmentally-sound energy remains a universal problem
  • Providing high-quality and affordable energy access remains a significant challenge for developing and emerging economies
  • Countries at various stages of development struggle with energy security
  • The United States ranks 12 th in terms of energy sustainability. It has the most affordable energy in the world, but its energy is less environmentally-sound than many other nations’.
  • The United Kingdom ranks 15 th in terms of energy sustainability. Its ranking has improved significantly due to recent efforts to diversify its energy mix.
  • Germany ranks 11 th in terms of energy sustainability, but it is only slightly above average in terms of environmentally-sound energy.

The report makes three recommendations to policy makers for how to accelerate sustainable energy systems in their countries, based on interviews with 40 CEOs and senior energy executives globally: 1)Design coherent energy policies that are regionally coordinated and link together national industrial, environmental, and transportation goals, 2) Support market conditions that attract long-term investments, and 3) Encourage initiatives that foster research and development in all areas of energy technology.

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