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Energy intensity in Latin America and the Caribbean

Year: 2010 Author: Nieves López Izquierdo, Associate Consultant UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Available evidence indicates that energy intensity – the ratio between energy consumption and gross domestic product (GDP), expressed in purchasing power parity (PPP) at 2005 prices – in Latin America and the Caribbean remained almost constant in the 1980-2007 period. This shows that the region has not made the progress necessary, in terms of energy efficiency, to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gasses. The stagnation in energy-intensity levels in Latin America is probably related to the weakness of, or lack of priority in, the energy efficiency policies of the region’s countries, along with a price structure that tends to favour energy intensity and the increased energy consumption from transportation, among other factors. In 2007, energy intensity in Latin America and the Caribbean was 134 kg of oil equivalent per US$1,000 of GDP (at 2005 prices), less than either the world mean (186 kg) or the figure for the OECD countries (152 kg). Among the countries of the region, varying levels of energy intensity can be seen, with energy-intensity figures for Peru, Panama, Colombia, Uruguay, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico being below the regional average. In the future, these levels could become a key factor in international competitiveness.
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