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07 January 2015

Energy-climate: France on top of the world energy podium


One reason, at least, to start 2015 with optimism: while Paris is hosting the COP21 at the end of this year, France won’t be ashamed of its energy performance. In fact, it appears in the third place of the ranking of “Global Energy Architecture Performance Index” (EAPI) *, conducted by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Accenture

The study aims to provide world political leaders with a comparison tool for the performances of their energy systems, next to the others 125 countries examined, to assist decision-making processes by emphasizing the changes of the entire global energy system. As for last year, the worldwide ranking, presented as a synthesis of the study, puts France at the third place.
The worldwide ranking is dominated by developed countries, which occupy 9 of the top 10 places (the exception being Colombia 9th). It reveals that against the common sense, it is not the energy performance that generates the improvement of the economic situation but it is the level of development that allows the elaboration of a highly efficient energy system.

Key findings of the study

To sum up, the study puts out six key lessons. First of all, despite substantial efforts in the whole world, improvements in energy intensity are stagnating everywhere, especially in emerging economies. Clearly, it urges for a deep reform of current energy policies. Moreover, while developed economies are evolving progressively towards a low-carbon energy system, the evolution appears much less positive for others. Another point: the energy dependence is increasing in many countries, however partly compensated by an increase in the diversification of supplies. The WEF and Accenture also emphasize that a reliable design of the energy system is not sufficient if you don’t implement it in a pragmatic way (strong governance should go with clear signals to investors). The results of the top ranked countries show that the most efficient energy policy is the one which ensures the right balance between energy efficiency, development of renewable energies and security of supply. Finally, the methods used by each of those countries also show that there is no single path to build an affordable, sustainable and secure, energy system.

France, N°3 of the ranking

Regarding the ranking of studied countries, it results from the aggregation of three indicators: the economic growth and development; the environmental sustainability; the safe and easy access to energy.
This year, just like last one, France is ranked third (behind Switzerland and Norway), put down by an average result on the first indicator (23rd in the world) which is stealing its world leader place. France is the EU’s highest ranked State, followed by Spain (5th), Sweden (6th) and Denmark (7th). The UK ranks only at the 12th position and the German “model” … 19th.
The most satisfying element is the environmental sustainability indicator, for which France ranks itself at the first place, ahead of all other major developed or emerging countries. It puts into relief some negative speeches heard about our energy transition policy, criticizing this essential value for our country.
In detail, France’s scores in two criteria of this indicator are particularly instructive, as shown in the table below:

Therefore, the EAPI 2015 shows that the French energy system should not be ashamed of its past and future energy performances, and that our country can represent an example to follow in the negotiations ahead of COP21. A small note of optimism to start the year 2015!
* With the support of the World Bank, IEA, GIZ, WTO, UNCTAD and the University of California.

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