The global energy system is on an unsustainable path, The InternationalEnergy Agency said in their “World Energy Outlook” report, released Monday in London.
Fossil fuels will remain dominant in the global energy mix for the next 20 years, supported in part by subsidies that, in 2011, jumped by almost 30 percent to $523 billion. Most of those subsidies were in the Middle East and North Africa. Global oil demand is seeing growing by 7 million barrels per day in 2020 and exceeding 99 mb/d in 2035, by which time oil prices reach $125 a barrel on average, in real terms (over $215 per barrel in nominal terms). Taking all new developments and current policies into account, the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path, IEA authors said. The New Policies Scenario section of the report, which is their baseline scenario for energy supply and demand going forward, shows that several fundamental trends persist in the energy market. That is energy demand and CO2 emissions rising ever higher than they already are; energy market dynamics being driven by China and other emerging economies; fossil fuels remaining the dominant energy sources; and getting power to the poor continues to be an elusive goal. Global energy demand will rise by over one‐third in the period to 2035. And as a result, energy‐related CO2 emissions rise from an estimated 31.2 gigatons in 2011 to 37 gigatons in 2035. It might not seem like much on a weight scale, but it does point to a long‐term average temperature increase of 3.6 °C. A lower rate of global economic growth in the short term would make only a marginal difference to longer‐term energy and climate trends. The reports authors said that cleaning burning natural gas in energy-demanding North America and China, coupled with slow but steady moves towards renewables and energy efficiency are needed for a sustainable energy picture. Sadly, the IEA holds out no hope that energy efficiency will come to the fore. “Our analysis shows that in the absence of a concerted policy push, two-thirds of the economically viable potential to improve energy efficiency will remain unrealized through to 2035. Action to improve energy efficiency could delay the complete ‘lock-in’ of the allowable emissions of carbon dioxide under a 2oC trajectory – which is currently set to happen in 2017 – until 2022, buying time to secure a much-needed global climate agreement,” said Fatih Birol, IEA Chief Economist and the WEO’s lead author. See: World Energy Outlook Factsheet