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Governments are getting lax about improving energy efficiency, putting climate progress at risk, top policy advisor warns

  • Progress toward improving energy efficiency slowed in 2016 as governments implemented fewer new policies, the International Energy Agency reports.
  • Last year saw the weakest overall progress in energy efficiency policies since 2009.
  • Improvements in energy intensity have been the biggest contributor to flattening greenhouse gas emissions, IEA says.

An Energy Star label is displayed on a brand new washing machine at a Best Buy store.Getty Images

Nations around the world continued to improve their energy efficiency last year, but a slowdown in new policies threatens to derail the progress and hobble efforts to fight climate change, the International Energy Agency warned on Thursday.

Last year saw the weakest overall progress in energy efficiency policies since 2009, IEA reported in its Energy Efficiency 2017 report. The pace is slowing even as virtually every nation in the world has agreed to take action to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

"Strong efficiency gains continued to be made in 2016, even as energy prices fell. But at the same time, governments are not coming up with new policies fast enough, relying on existing regulations instead, precisely at the time when a pipeline of new efficiency policies should be coming into force," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in the report.

"There is a risk that efficiency gains could take a step back," he warned.

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