IEA tips 'king coal' in bleak view
of world's energy future
Nov 7, 2007 - Thompson Financial
The International Energy Agency has
painted a bleak picture of the next two decades,
with the world's dependence on fossil fuels set to
rocket at a time of global alarm about climate change.
The IEA, an advisor to 26 countries, issued its World Energy Outlook 2007 report,
identifying the long-term trends that will shape energy policy up to 2030.
Coal will make a comeback, the Middle East and Russia
will grow in influence as oil suppliers, and emerging
giants China and India will account for most of the
increase in energy demand.
"The trends in energy demand, imports, coal
use and greenhouse gas emissions to 2030 in this
year's World Energy Outlook are even worse than projected
in WEO 2006," the agency warned.
It gave little hope to those looking for a technological
breakthrough, which many believe is necessary for
a meaningful reduction in world greenhouse gas emissions.
Instead, it predicted that coal, one of the oldest
and dirtiest sources of energy, would be king in
emerging countries China and India in 2030.
"In line with its spectacular growth over the
past few years, coal sees the biggest increase in
demand in absolute terms, jumping by 73 pct between
2005 and 2030," the agency said.
"China and India, which already account for
45 pct of world coal use, drive over four-fifths
of the increase (in its use) to 2030."
Coal-fired power stations have been "the primary
cause of the surge in global emissions in the last
few years," the IEA said, and new power stations
in China and India are likely to be mostly coal-fired.
Because of this, the IEA urged governments to focus
on developing clean coal technologies, in particular
carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which entails
capturing carbon and storing it underground.
According to its calculations, if governments do
not take further action the world's temperature could
rise by six degrees Centigrade beyond 2030, Fatih
Birol, head of research at the IEA, told Agence France-Presse.
The conclusions of the IEA are also of vital importance
for international relations.
The grip of Middle Eastern producers and Russia
on world oil resources will tighten, although the
IEA did say that there was sufficient oil to satisfy
demand so long as planned investments in new capacity
The 12-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries, which is dominated by Saudi Arabia, is
projected to provide 52 pct of world supply in 2030,
up from 42 pct presently.
"The greater the increase in call on oil and
gas from these regions, the more likely it will be
that they will seek to extract a higher rent from
their exports and to impose higher prices in the
longer term," the IEA said.
This is bad news for consuming countries with oil
prices already at nearly 100 dollars per barrel.
tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com by Adam Plowright
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