IEA Calls For Urgent Action To Promote Energy Efficiency

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling on the United States, European nations, China and other countries to encourage the use alternative energy to avoid environmental damage, energy price shocks and supply disruptions in the coming decades.

According to IEA's annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) report, released on Nov. 7, global energy needs will surge by 53 percent over the next quarter century, and more than 70 percent of this increase will come from developing countries, led by China and India. China is expected to overtake the United States as the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide before 2010.

"The energy future we are facing today, based on projections of current trends, is dirty, insecure and expensive. (However, the WEO) also shows how new government policies can create an alternative energy future which is clean, clever and competitive," said Claude Mandil, IEA executive director.

According to the report's alternative policy scenario, the energy future can be substantially improved if governments around the world implement certain policies and measures they are currently considering. In this scenario, global energy demand could be reduced by 10 percent by 2030 -- equivalent to China's entire energy consumption today. Global carbon-dioxide emissions could be reduced by 16 percent -- equivalent to current emissions in the United States and Canada combined -- in the same time-frame.

"The good news is that these policies are very cost-effective. There are additional upfront costs involved, but they are quickly outweighed by savings in fuel expenditures. And the extra investment by consumers is less than the reduction in investment in energy-supply infrastructure," Mandil said.

The IEA calls for more efficient use of energy, an increase in biofuels production and more investment in nuclear and renewable power.

Additional information on the World Energy Outlook can be found at http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org.

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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