World Energy Outlook Report: Grim

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday made grim predictions of increased fossil fuel consumption by 2030.

The IEA, energy adviser to 26 industrialized nations, released its annual World Energy Outlook – a laundry list of nightmare scenarios for environmentalists.

By 2030, If current trends continue, the report states:

– Fossil fuels will account for 84% of the overall increase in energy demand.

– Global carbon emissions will rise by 57% – consistent with a long-term global temperature increase of 5-6 degrees centigrade.

– Oil will remain the single largest source of fuel, though its share in global demand will fall from 35% to 32%.

– Coal consumption will increase 73%, pushing its share of global demand up from 25% to 28%.

– Natural gas consumption will rise from 21% to 22% globally. – Nuclear generation is expected to shrink from 6% of global energy mix to 5%.

– Hydro electricity will remain at 2%

– Energy produced from biomass and waste will decline from 10% to 9%

– All other renewables will increase to 2% of the global energy mix from 1%.

Even if all beneficial climate policies currently being considered were implemented, the report states that carbon emissions would still rise by more than 25% by 2030 – leading to a 3-degree temperature increase. Only “unprecedented” political action could cut carbon emissions below current levels and keep climate change within EU-defined safety limits, according to the report.

“Exceptionally strong and immediate policy action would be essential for this to happen and the associated costs would be very high,” the report states. For instance fossil fuel power plants would have to be shuttered at a cost of roughly US$1 trillion, and electricity prices would rise substantially.

China and India

The rapid economic growth of China and India, both of which have populations of more than one billion people, will account for the majority of increased energy demand and emissions, according to the report.

China accounted for 58% of worldwide carbon emission increases from 2000-2006, and it’s share of global emissions will rise above 25% by 2030, up from 20% currently. However, its per-capita emissions will still be less than half that of the United States’.

In addition, the IEA says China will overtake the U.S. during 2007 to become the world’s leading carbon emitter, and will consume more energy than the U.S. beginning in 2010. India will pass Russia to claim the number three emissions spot by 2015.

All together, global energy demand is predicted to increase more than 50% by 2030, with China and India accounting for 45% of the increase.

But the report avoids laying blame on the two growing nations, stating they have “legitimate aspirations” for prosperity that should be accommodated. It suggests that developed nations must take responsibility for assisting the nations to grow more sustainably.

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said, “To believe China and India are to blame is wrong, because these countries have the right to grow. In India today, more than 400 million people have no access to electricity.”

The IEA urges all governments to engage in “vigorous, immediate and collective policy action” to avoid the serious consequences of current trends.

“There has so far been more talk than action in most countries,” the IEA said.

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