An in depth study conducted by the Paris-based International Energy Agency forecasts a 50 percent rise in energy use between now and 2030. It also predicts a concurrent 52 percent rise in greenhouse gas emissions, principally CO2, by 2030. The atmospheric pollution caused by burning fossil fuels has been linked to global warming and climate change. The IEA warns that steps should be taken to improve the way energy is extracted and used.
The report – World Energy Outlook 2005 – said it “expects global energy markets to remain robust through 2030. If policies remain unchanged, world energy demand is projected to increase by over 50 percent between now and 2030. World energy resources are adequate to meet this demand, but investment of $17 trillion will be needed to bring these resources to consumers.”
The report predicts that oil and gas imports from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will rise, creating greater dependence for IEA countries and large importers like China and India.
It specifically warns that energy-related CO2 emissions will also climb. By 2030, they will be 52 percent higher than today. “These projected trends have important implications and lead to a future that is not sustainable – from an energy-security or environmental perspective. We must change these outcomes and get the planet onto a sustainable energy path,” stated William C. Ramsay, IEA Deputy Executive Director.
He also noted that a “lack of investment in upstream and downstream capacity has contributed to the extreme tightness in the global oil market in recent months,” and highlighted the critical role the Middle East will continue to play in meeting growth in global energy demand.
While the report mainly focuses on energy policy and the need for greater investment, it also takes into account the results of greater energy use, which, if uncontrolled, would in all likelihood cause greater environmental damage. There are alternatives, which would reduce the demand for energy and consequently lessen the environmental impact.
One of those alternatives (out of three) addressed by the IEA examines the consequences of new policies under consideration in consuming countries. “The G8 Plan of Action, agreed at the Gleneagles Summit in July 2005, launched detailed initiatives to promote cleaner energy and combat the impact of climate change,” Ramsay explained. “The IEA was asked to play an important role. This strong global commitment indicates that governments are already adopting alternative policies – such as those in the World Alternative Policy Scenario – to achieve the G8 goals.”
If these alternatives are actually followed through the IEA report indicates that global oil and gas demand growth would be lower, “but the world continues to rely heavily on MENA oil and gas.” Under this scenario “CO2 emissions fall 16 percent below the level of the Reference Scenario – but still increase around 30 percent by 2030.”
The full report may be consulted on the IEA’s Website at: http://www.iea.org.
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