Cell phones, TVs undo efficiency gains: study

Wed May 13, 2009 11:22am EDT
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By Gerard Wynn

LONDON (Reuters) - Demand for energy-thirsty gadgets such as cell phones, iPods, PCs and plasma TVs is undoing efficiency gains elsewhere, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The Paris-based energy adviser to 28 developed countries urged governments in a report to keep pace with the invention of new consumer devices when crafting efficiency standards, and implored people to make thriftier choices.

The IEA warned that otherwise energy used by household electronic devices could triple by 2030.

Energy consumption is associated with carbon emissions because most electricity is generated from burning high-carbon fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

But the world doesn't have to curb an insatiable appetite for ever more clever, exciting or fashionable gadgets, provided people chose the most efficient versions available, said IEA analyst Paul Waide.

"There is a way of having our cake and eating it at the same time by being much more proactive on efficiency," he said.

"We can hold total consumption at today's levels by using best available technologies, despite a dramatic growth in use."

He said that governments have generally been a bit more reluctant to introduce policies for these types of products because they've been changing so much.   Continued...