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IEA World Energy Outlook 2012

growth in renewablesThe International Energy Authority this week published their annual World Energy Outlook, which makes forecasts to 2035. The full report itself is €120 for the pdf but the IEA make the Executive Summary and some of the charts available (as part of the press briefing). There has been a lot of attention devoted to the predicted energy independence of the US, based on increasing extraction of ‘non-conventional’ oil and gas (which largely means fracking and shale). However, I found the chart above to be of more interest – the IEA are forecasting that the bulk of power generation in the future will come from renewables (although with coal also forming a large part of China’s generating capability). At the same time, they highlight too that the current energy is “unsustainable”, with fossil fuels having increasing levels of subsidy. The contrast to support for renewables generation, for example by the coalition government in the UK, is marked. The difference in the growth of nuclear power between Europe and Japan and the rest is another interesting aspect.

The ‘Efficient World Scenario’ the IEA posits reflects the level of CO2 emissions that keeps global climate warming at the 2° C mark. The danger is that it reflects a techno-optimist perspective – that advances in technology will deliver sufficient increases in energy efficiency to allow growing global demand to be satisfied without further risk to climate change. They do at least recognise that there are substantial barriers to achieving this and a recognition of the demand-side factors driving energy and climat change is welcome.

Posted in climate change, economics, environment, sustainable, Uncategorized.