IEA World Energy Outlook 2010
Hot off the press, the International Energy Agency has just released the 2010 edition of its World Energy Outlook. The report projects global energy production and consumption out to 2035 based on three scenarios: current policies; policies promised since the agreement of the Copenhagen Climate Change Accord last December; and the IEA’s best case scenario of limiting carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million (we are currently sitting at roughly 390 ppm and rising fast).
There’s a lot to chew on in a report of this magnitude. And although you can’t actually read it without paying a fee, you can read an executive summary and early excerpt by clicking here and scrolling down to find the download.
It is worth noting one quite startling assertion in this year’s report: the IEA maintains that abolishing fossil fuel subsidies would in fact boost the world’s economy, environment and energy security. And to what extent are fossil fuel industries subsidized you might wonder? According to the IEA, which is the respected energy watchdog to 28 industrialized countries, such subsidies were estimated to be $312 billion in 2009 compared with $57 billion for renewable energy. Fossil fuel subsidies are on course to reach $600 billion by 2015.
In this age of energy insecurity, air pollution, oil spills and climate change, it is simply incredible to think that we are spending 6 times more on subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industries than we are on clean, renewable energy technologies.
Without taking any other action to mitigate climate change, the IEA estimates that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies alone by 2020 would cut global energy demand by 5 percent and reduce carbon emissions by nearly 6 percent.
So what are we waiting for?