Thursday, November 29, 2012

Warning from the International Energy Agency: The World's Ongoing Reliance on Fossil Fuels Crushes Hopes of Averting Climate Change

At its annual World Energy Outlook, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) suggested that even if we factor the policy commitments already made or contemplated by world governments, energy-related emissions are will keep rising over the next 20 years. The key finding in the International Energy Agency's (IEA) 2012 edition of its World Energy Outlook is that ongoing reliance on fossil fuels will make it impossible to curtail climate change. The report indicates that Renewable energy is being neglected in favor of coal, oil, and natural gas.

“Taking all new developments and policies into account,” the IEA reported, “the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path.” Rather than move aggressively towards the development of renewable energy we appear to be increasing our consumption of fossil fuels.

The new oil and gas being extracted from shale formations has had a very negative impact on the political will of government to invest in renewables. Sadly, even with the significant increases in natural gas extraction, coal continues to be used in the US and around the world.

According to the IEA, coal supplied nearly half of the increase in global energy consumption over the last decade, growing faster than renewables. And the agency predicts that coal will continue its rise in the decades ahead.

China is the world largest coal consumer and they are expected to increase their usage until 2020, when demand is finally expected to level off. India continues to rely on coal and by 2025 that country is expected to overtake the U.S. as the number two consumer of coal.

The most dire warning in the report indicates that even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.”

As noted by the IEA report, fossil fuels continue to dominate government policies. Government energy subsidies in the developing world cause many national governments to seek out the least expensive energy options possible.

A total of six times more government money is spent on fossil fuel based energy subsidies than is spent on subsidies for renewable energy.

Globally, over half a trillion dollars went towards energy subsidies In 2011. This represents and increase of almost 30 percent from 2010.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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