If there are any hesitant politicians out there who do not yet fully understand the collective foolishness of our expensive addiction to fossil fuels and how our planet’s climate is being threatened as a result, they should pick up a copy of the latest stark warning from the International Energy Agency.
“We can not let the financial and economic crisis delay the policy action that is urgently needed to ensure secure energy supplies and to curtail rising emissions of greenhouse gases,” IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka said today at the London launch of World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2008.
“We must usher in a global energy revolution by improving energy efficiency and increasing the deployment of low-carbon energy.”
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) welcomes this year’s IEA publication and hopes it will act as a wake-up call for government leaders who are reluctant to lead in the fight to secure energy sources while battling climate change. They need look no further for a positive example than wind power, which is already a proven technology that can provide an increasing amount of local, affordable, dependable and non-polluting energy.
Bleak, blunt and urgent, the WEO report also calls on politicians to act.
Assuming no new government policies, the WEO reference scenario predicts global energy demand increasing by 45% between 2006 and 2030.
“Current trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable – environmentally, economically and socially – they can and must be altered,” Tanaka said.
“One thing is certain,” he added, “the era of cheap oil is over.”
Indeed, the WEO 2008 executive summary predicts that the price of a barrel of oil (in 2007 dollars) will average $100 between now and 2015, rising to $200 by 2030, led mostly by a growing demand in developing nations and a slowing in investments and infrastructure. It calls for $26 trillion to be invested in energy-supply infrastructure by 2030.
The summary also notes that renewable energies will overtake gas to become the second largest source of electricity behind coal.
Excluding biomass, wind and other non-hydro renewable energies will grow faster than any other source, at an average annual rate of 7.2%.
Turning to global warming, the summary calls for “radical action by governments” to speed up the transition to a low-carbon world.
The report notes the projected rise in greenhouse gas emissions in its reference scenario would result in a global temperature increase of up to 6° C by the end of this century, which is three times more than the European Union’s climate change target.
An additional $4.1 trillion to $9.2 trillion will be needed by 2030 to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the temperature-rise target.
Encouraging politicians to act swiftly in a coordinated fashion to cut greenhouse gases and stop the rise in global temperatures, the report says governments have the power to create cleaner, smarter and more competitive energy networks. “Time is running out and the time to act is now.”
Agreeing with the sentiment, EWEA hopes policy makers recognise that the energy-global warming challenge is immense, but it can be solved. Humankind knows how to exact the required change; we just need the will.
Click here to read GWEC’s press release
12 November 2008