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Expand chart
Adapted from IEA's Energy Efficiency 2019 report; Chart: Axios Visuals

New International Energy Agency data out Monday shows just paltry advances in global energy efficiency last year.

What they found: Primary energy intensity — that is, amount of energy needed per unit of GDP — improved by just 1.2% in 2018. That's the third consecutive year of declining gains and the slowest improvement since 2010, the agency said.

Where it stands: IEA lists several reasons for the slowdown, including...

  • Big structural forces, like consumer preferences for bigger cars and growth in average per-capita residential floor area.
  • Higher 2018 production from energy-thirsty industries in the U.S. and China.
  • Slowdown in the toughening of mandatory efficiency policies.
  • Weather, with a hot U.S. summer and a cold winter, driving up energy use.

Why it matters: Improvements in efficiency are an important tool for fighting climate change.

  • But IEA says the global pace is nowhere close to what's needed to help get the world on a pathway consistent with the goals of the Paris agreement.

What they're saying: “We can improve energy efficiency by 3% per year simply through the use of existing technologies and cost-effective investments," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

  • "Ambitious policies need to be put in place to spur investment and put the necessary technologies to work on a global scale," he adds.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.