IEA publishes its World Energy Outlook 2009 1


WEO 2009The International Energy Agency published today it’s annual World Energy Outlook. The 2009 version is even more urging action on climate change than the previous version.

As Reuters noted in its article : ” The world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delays implementing a major assault on global warming. “

This huge amount of money should urge our leaders meeting next month in Copenhagen to prepare the future of the Kyoto Protocol to act NOW on climate change.

Here are some extracts of the press release.

“World leaders gathering in Copenhagen next month for the UN Climate summit have a historic opportunity to avert the worst effects of climate change. The World Energy Outlook 2009 seeks to add momentum to their negotiations at this crucial stage by detailing the practical steps needed for a sustainable energy future as part of a global climate deal,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency today in London at the launch of the new WEO – the annual flagship publication of the IEA.

WEO-2009 provides both a caution and grounds for optimism. Caution, because a continuation of current trends in energy use puts the world on track for a rise in temperature of up to 6°C and poses serious threats to global energy security. Optimism, because there are cost-effective solutions to avoid severe climate change while also enhancing energy security – and these are within reach as the new Outlook shows,” added Mr. Tanaka.

Although, as one of the consequences of the financial crisis, global energy use is set to fall this year, WEO-2009 projects that it will soon resume its upward trend if government policies don’t change. In this Reference Scenario, demand increases by 40% between now and 2030, reaching 16.8 billion tonnes of oil equivalent. Projected global demand is lower than in last year’s report, reflecting the impact of the economic crisis and of new government policies introduced over the past year.

Fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix, accounting for more than three-quarters of incremental demand. Non-OECD countries account for over 90% of this increase, and China and India alone for over half. In addition to increasing susceptibility to energy price spikes, the Reference Scenario projects a persistently high level of spending on oil and gas imports which would represent a substantial financial burden on import-dependent consumers.

China overtakes the US around 2025 to become the world’s biggest spender on oil and gas imports. The energy poverty challenge also remains unresolved with 1.3 billion people still without electricity in 2030 from 1.5 billion today; though universal access could be achieved with investment of only $35 billion per year in 2008-2030.

WEO-2009 demonstrates that containing climate change is possible but will require a profound transformation of the energy sector. A 450 Scenario sets out an aggressive timetable of actions needed to limit the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million of carbon-dioxide equivalent and keep the global temperature rise to around 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this scenario, fossil-fuel demand would need to peak by 2020 and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to fall to 26.4 gigatonnes in 2030 from 28.8 Gt in 2007.

“At the IEA Ministerial meeting, a large majority of Ministers showed their intention to take the lead, organise themselves and commit to the challenge to reach the 450 Scenario – the energy path of Green Growth. Only by mitigation action in all sectors and regions can we turn the 450 Scenario into reality,” stressed Mr. Tanaka.

Energy efficiency is the largest contributor, accounting for over half of total abatement by 2030. Low-carbon energy technologies also play a crucial role: around 60% of global electricity production comes from renewables (37%), nuclear (18%) and plants fitted with carbon capture and storage (5%) in 2030. Furthermore, a dramatic shift in car sales occurs, with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles representing almost 60% of sales in 2030, from around 1% today.

Compared to the Reference Scenario, cumulative incremental investment of $10.5 trillion is needed in the 450 Scenario in low-carbon energy technologies and energy efficiency by 2030. In addition to avoiding severe climate change, this cost is largely offset by economic, health and energy-security benefits. Energy bills in transport, buildings and industry alone are reduced by $8.6 trillion globally over the period 2010-2030.

“The challenge for climate negotiators is to agree on instruments that will give the right incentives to ensure that the necessary investments are made and on mechanisms to finance those investments in non-OECD countries,” said Mr. Tanaka and added: “In our 450 scenario in OECD countries the carbon price reaches $50 per tonne of CO2 in 2020 and $110 in 2030.”

As always, if you want to read the full version, it is available on the IEA website.

A fact sheet and executive summary are also available.


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