The annual World Energy Outlook is the leading source for medium to long-term energy market projections and analysis and has achieved widespread international recognition. It is the flagship publication of the International Energy Agency.Last Friday I attended IEA’s Executive Director’s and Chief Economist’s presentation on the Outlook here in DC. Needless to say, their assessment of global energy to 2030 kept me tuned in as each point made was intriguing and sobering.
Below are some highlights.
The report analyzed three energy scenarios for the world’s demands: a reference, an alternative policy, and a 450 stabilization case.
The reference scenario is what happens if the world continues down its current path of energy consumption without any “new energy-policy interventions.” By not changing our current trajectory, we can expect a 55% increase in energy demands and a 57% increase in CO2 emissions between 2005 and 2030. China and India will demand nearly half of this energy increase. Not only that, 84% of the overall increase in energy will be fueled by fossil-fuels.
These increases may not sound like much, but according to IPCC calculations, the increase in CO2 emissions is projected to raise global temperatures by about 6 degrees Celsius. As well, $22 trillion is the amount required globally to invest and develop the world’s growing energy infrastructure. If governments do not change any policies under this scenario, nuclear capacity is projected to increase from 368 GW worldwide today to only 415 GW by 2030.
The alternative policy scenario “analyzes the impact on global energy markets of a package of additional measures to address energy-security and climate-change concerns.” If the proposed policies were to transpire, energy demands are projected to increase 38% and CO2 emissions increase 27% by 2030. Under this scenario, the IPCC projects temperatures would only rise by about 3 degrees Celsius by 2030. Nuclear capacity is projected to increase to 525 GW by 2030.
A new scenario, 450 stabilization case, was developed to address what needs to happen in order to stabilize the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million (2005 CO2 concentration levels were at 379 ppm). At 450 ppm, temperatures are projected to increase by less than 3 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this level, the report projects:
energy-related CO2 emissions would need to peak in 2012 at around 30 Gt and then decline to 23 Gt in 2030 – 19 Gt less than in the Reference Scenario and 11 Gt less than in the Alternative Policy Scenario.How would this be achieved?
Emissions savings come from improved efficiency in fossil-fuel use in industry, buildings and transport; switching to nuclear power and renewables; and the widespread deployment of CO2 capture and storage in power generation and industry.Nuclear capacity under this projection would more than double from its current capacity to 833 GW by 2030. Even if this increase were to happen, nuclear would account for only 16% of the necessary reductions in CO2 emissions worldwide. This should speak to the monstrous challenge the world faces in curbing CO2 emissions. Improved fossil-fuel efficiency would account for 27% of the reductions; end-use energy efficiency would provide 13%; biofuels for transportation, 4%; renewables for power, 19%; and CO2 capture and storage, 21%.
The report spent much of its writing on the energy demands
The next 10 years are critical for these two countries due to the fact they are ramping up their energy infrastructure to meet their economic demands. Once their power plants are built, the two countries will have little incentive to retire them any time soon. Therefore, it is important to influence them to build emission-free sources of energy like nuclear.