IEA unveils its latest report : WEO 2010 1


Like every year at this period, the International Energy Agency published this week its latest World Energy Outlook (WEO). This year it is focusing on how country members can reach the goal they committed to in Copenhagen.

Indeed limiting the rise in temperatures to 2°C is an important goal that requires a plan of action. The IEA also focused on the two Asian giants, India and China and on the tremendous potential of renewable energy sources.

As you can imagine, this report is full of interesting facts and figures. As I browsed various websites I am able to propose you a selection of the main findings.

On China, the New York Times notes :

The agency, which is based in Paris and advises the industrialized nations, predicted that Chinese energy demand would soar 75 percent by 2035, accounting for more than a third of the growth in global consumption.

(…) Beijing’s ability to lift hundreds of millions of people into the middle class over the coming years will be largely based on its ability to produce more energy, and its foreign policies can also be expected to follow its energy interests, energy experts say.

“China’s decisions on energy will affect every person in the world,” Fatih Birol, the agency’s chief economist, said in an interview. “We project them to be the world leaders, producing new capacity in wind, solar, nuclear and advanced coal.”

With China and its 1.3 billion people as a primary engine, the energy agency predicted that world energy demand should grow by more than a third over the next 25 years, as new oil supplies became harder to find.

(…) With $735 billion in investment plans over the next decade in nuclear, wind, solar and biomass projects, China is becoming a world leader in low-carbon energy output, according to the report.

Regarding renewable energy, the executive summary of the report brings a surprise : renewable energy sources could provide as much electricity as coal on a global scale by 2035.

That’s right, renewables could bring nearly a third of the world’s electricity within 25 years.

To do so, subsidies given today to fossil fuels will have to be given to low carbon sources instead. Indeed, governments around the world give $312 to oil, coal and natural gas and only 57 billion to renewables.

On today’s leading energy source – oil – the IEA notes that production should increase to 99 million barrels per day by 2035 to answer the demand. As traditional oil sources are decreasing, unconventional oil such as tar sands will have to be used more and more…

TreeHugger has an interesting article on that very topic so make sure you have a look at it. (This will allow you to understand that the Agency is acknowledging we reached peak oil four years ago…)

Moreover, natural gas is due to play a more important role as its consumption could rise by 44 percent by 2035.

To conclude : surprisingly I haven’t read anything this year on energy efficiency. Previous issues really stressed the point.

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