2015 World Energy Council Energy Trilemma Index

Sub-Sahara: Economic growth could lead to emissions rising between 30% and 140% by 2050

London, 11 November 2015: The World Energy Council’s annual ranking of energy and climate policies – the 2015 Energy Trilemma Index – registers overall improvements across the three dimensions of the energy trilemma. This year’s report shows that only two countries out of 130 achieved a ‘AAA’ balance score.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa still register low emissions and are mostly located in the lower half of the Index with many still a long way from providing access to modern energy services for their populations. But their economies are growing fast, leading to an increase in emissions of between 30% and 140% by 2050 according to the Energy Trilemma Index, albeit from a small base.

Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the World Energy Trilemma study, said: “As the region develops both socially and economically, sub-Saharan African countries need to pay increased attention to adaptation measures. Those measures need to take account of increasing average global temperatures, extreme weather events and their impact on their energy systems. Huge investment is essential to build out energy infrastructure for the region’s economic and social development.

“Our research underlines how priorities vary from country to country – though energy security is key for all. And the report highlights a real issue for the 21st Conference of the Parties due to begin later this month in Paris, namely translating the Intended National Determined Contributions from international objectives into national level actions for energy. The investment required is huge, and driving it to the right places will require a balanced approach if countries are to meet the three goals of the trilemma.”

To support the UNFCCC process, the report is sent to all parties attending COP21 and will form the basis of the post-2015 ministerial dialogue at the World Energy Congress to be held in October 2016 in Istanbul.

MacNaughton added, “For countries to move up in the rankings and remain ahead of the pack, they must adopt prudent, forward-looking energy policies to meet decarbonisation goals and maintain competitiveness. This report provides a map for the long road from Paris to help policymakers and businesses chart a sustainable course.”

Two new countries have been added to the negative watch list which in 2014 included German, Italy, Japan and the UK. The countries are South Africa due to its electricity crisis, and the US where lack of investment in ageing infrastructure and exposure to extreme weather events pose threats to the country’s currently strong energy security performance in the Trilemma Index.

François Austin, Global Energy Practice Leader from the project partner for the Energy Trilemma Index, the global management consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, along with the Global Risk Centre of its parent Marsh & McLennan Companies, said: “This report highlights that governments must set in place clear market frameworks and consistent energy goals to create the conditions to support energy investments and innovation.”