IEA World Energy Outlook 2011

The Executive Summary of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2011 was published recently. The seven-page document would be an excellent reading in energy or climate courses, albeit a pretty depressing one.  Among the take-aways from the publication:

  1. Global energy demand bounced back from depressed levels by a “remarkable” 5% in 2010;
  2. Energy subsidies that encourage profligate use of fossil fuels also increased to over $400 billion in 2010;
  3. Demand for energy in the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, which assumes cautious governmental commitments to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, rises by one-third from 2010 to 2035, with 90% of increases in energy demand occurring in non-OECD States;
  4. Demand for fossil fuels is projected to only decline from 81% of primary energy consumption in 2010 to 75% in 2035;  the share of non-hydro renewable power generation rises from 3% in 2009 to 15% in 2035;
  5. Four-fifths of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions permissible by 2035 to keep greenhouse gas concentrations at 450ppm are already locked in by existing capital stocks; without “stringent” new measures by 2013, energy-related infrastructure in place by that point will generate ALL of the carbon dioxide emissions permitte in a 450 scenario up to 2035. Thus, all other energy-generating infrastructure, factories, etc. would have to be zero-carbon to not pass the 450ppm threshold;
  6. For every dollar of investment avoided in the power sector before 2020, we would need an additional $4.3 after 2020 to compensate for increased emissions;
  7. All of the projected net increase in oil demand to 2030 will come from the transport sector in developing countries;
  8. Maintenance of current policies in terms of coal use would see coal use rise by a further 65% by 2035, overtaking oil as the primary fuel source in the global energy mix;
  9. While $9 billion is currently invested globally to provide access to modern energy, more than 5 times this amount would need to be invested to provide universal access by 2030.


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