World Energy Outlook 2011, did I say 4 degrees warmer, make that 7.

The International Energy Agency is the organisation that gets all the governments listening,  it just reports energy facts and relates them in annual reports about projected
energy growth. Even Peak Oil bodies realise that, although I’m sure they try to “adjust” their take on whatever optimistic outlook they have. Like electric cars and how fantastic that will be.

Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the I.E.A. seems a believable man, even after denying Peak Oil for years, last year he changed his mind and said it happened in 2006, but at least he fessed up. The release of the new report however, seems to revisit that, firmly saying that the expected oil production in 2035 will rise from 87 million barrels per day (now) to 99 mbpd, with China responsible for half that growth. The global figure for cars on the road rises from 800 million to 1,700 million, and I didn’t hear the word electric mentioned once.

This short clip is an overview.



Maria van der Hoeven, new executive director couldn’t bring a more “sensitive” front to this report sadly, except for stressing that we need to accelerate renewable energy sources, and Fatih complied somewhat, saying renewables will provide 45% of energy supplies by 2035. A figure of 38 trillion dollars would be needed for energy investment by 2035 too, with 100 billion needed in the Middle East/North African countries + Brazil every year just to serve the oil up.

“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this “lock-in” effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be

Now this is where things get confusing. A few video clips below this is the head of the Potsdam Institute, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber,  saying we have to peak emissions by 2020 and then reduce by 5% per year, I guess that was before he heard the news that 2010 emissions had INCREASED by a record 6%.

The world’s existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of the “carbon budget” that Schellnhuber talked about, according to the IEA’s analysis, published on 9th November. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.

If current trends continue, and we go on building high-carbon energy generation, then by 2015 at least 90% of the available “carbon budget” will be swallowed up by our energy and industrial infrastructure. By 2017, there will be no room for manoeuvre at all – the whole of the carbon budget will be spoken for, according to the IEA’s calculations. “If we do not have an international agreement, whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door to [holding temperatures to 2C of warming] will be closed forever,” said Birol.

Birol said an agreement by 2020 would clearly be too late. “I think it’s very important to have a sense of urgency – our analysis shows [what happens] if you do not change investment patterns, which can only happen as a result of an international agreement.”



The new research adds to that finding, by showing in detail how current choices on building new energy and industrial infrastructure are likely to commit the world to much higher emissions for the next few decades, blowing apart hopes of containing the problem to manageable levels. The IEA’s data is regarded as the gold standard in emissions and energy, and is widely regarded as one of the most conservative in outlook – making the warning all the more stark.

Birol also warned that China – the world’s biggest emitter – would have to take on a much greater role in combating climate change. For years, Chinese officials have argued that the country’s emissions per capita were much lower than those of developed countries, it was not required to take such stringent action on emissions. But the IEA’s analysis found that within about four years, China’s per capita emissions were likely to exceed those of the EU.

Continuing its gloomy outlook, the IEA report said: “There are few signs that the urgently needed change in direction in global energy trends is under way. Although the recovery in the world economy since 2009 has been uneven, and future economic prospects remain uncertain, global primary energy demand rebounded by a remarkable 5% in 2010, pushing CO2 emissions to a new high. Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption of fossil fuels jumped to over $400bn

Meanwhile, an “unacceptably high” number of people – about 1.3bn – still lack access to electricity. If people are to be lifted out of poverty, this must be solved – but providing people with renewable forms of energy generation is still expensive.

Press quotes ;

09 November 2011, Bloomberg

Energy will become “viciously more expensive” and polluting if governments don’t promote renewable and nuclear power in the next two decades instead of burning coal, the International Energy Agency said. Global demand for energy is set to increase 40
percent by 2035, the Paris-based agency said today in its annual World Energy Outlook report, launched today in London. Consumption will rise 1.3 percent a year to 16.96 billion metric tons of oil equivalent in 2035, spurred by China and other emerging economies, the IEA said. “More than 90 percent of the growth in oil production in the next two decades needs to come from the Middle East and North African countries,” costing $100 billion of investment a year, IEA Chief Economist Dr. Fatih Birol said. If spending slips to a third of this level, oil prices could jump to $150 a barrel, the IEA said in the 659-page report.

09 November 2011, Washington Post

The chief economist for the International Energy Agency says the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change unless governments cut fossil fuel subsidies and
improve energy efficiency. Dr. Fatih Birol says that even though governments the world over have put increasing energy efficiency at the top their to-do lists, efficiency has worsened for two years in a row. Dr. Birol warned such backslides have real consequences: If the status quo continues until 2017, the world will lose the chance to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), as international negotiators have agreed. Dr. Birol was commenting on the findings released by the IEA on Wednesday in its annual World Energy Outlook.

A reluctance to invest in energy infrastructure in Middle Eastern and North African countries, partially because of unrest in the region, could drive up oil prices, an economist warned Tuesday. Fatih Birol, the chief economist for the International Energy Agency, said that $1.5 trillion dollars needs to be invested each year if the world is going to meet energy demands from now until 2035. Much of that money has been forthcoming, he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of energy ministers and industry leaders in Paris. But there is a particular shortfall in the Middle East and North Africa, from which 90 percent of the growth in oil production will come over the next
10 years. “If we don’t find that money, then the production won’t grow as much as it needs to grow, and as a result of that, one can see much higher prices than we have now today,” he said.

09 November 2011, The Times of India

Global oil demand is set to grow by 14.0 per cent by 2035, pulled by China and emerging economies and the price could reach 120 dollars per barrel, the IEA said in its annual report on Wednesday. “Without a bold change of policy direction, the world
will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system,” the International Energy Agency said. The agency estimated in its World Energy Outlook publication that global demand for oil would total 99 million barrels per day in 2035, or 12 mbd more than in 2010, and said that the price could reach $120 per barrel despite current price volatility.

18 October 2011, Agence France Presse

The energy industry needs $38 trillion (27 trillion euros) in investment by 2035 as it becomes increasingly difficult — and costly — to extract fuel, the International
Energy Agency said Tuesday. The figure, equal to $1.5 trillion a year, is about 15 percent higher than the IEA’s previous forecast, chief economist Fatih Birol said during a gathering of energy ministers and industry bosses in Paris. “It’s a huge figure because (as) the cost of production increases in many parts of the world, it’s getting more and more difficult to extract energy, that’s why our numbers have increased substantially,” he said. “If we don’t find that money, the production will not grow as much as it needs to
grow, with the result (that) one can see much higher prices than one can see today.”

09 November 2011, Associated Press

The International Energy Agency warned Wednesday that the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change and will lose the chance to limit warming if it doesn’t take
bold action in the next five years. In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency spelled out the consequences if those steps aren’t taken and what needs to be done to cap global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. That’s the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered. But the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said this week that he’s not optimistic that leaders are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. “We are going in the wrong direction in terms of climate change,” he said in
an interview Monday. He noted, for instance, that governments around the world have put increasing energy efficiency at the top of their to-do lists, but efficiency has worsened for two years in a row now.

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