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IEA says transformative leadership needed for sustainable energy future

10 November 2011
IEA says transformative leadership needed for sustainable energy future

LONDON: In its latest World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that the world will head towards an unsustainable energy future without urgent government action.

According to the World Energy Outlook (WEO) central New Policies Scenario - which presumes governments' latest commitments are employed cautiously - the world’s energy demand will increase by one-third between 2010 and 2025 with China’s rise in consumption almost 70% more than the US’s by 2035.

Owing to increased energy demands, cumulative CO2 emissions over the next 25 years will match three quarters of the total emissions released over the last 110 years, clearly presenting the need for the bold new energy and industry policies.

But despite surging energy demands, the IEA say we can stop global warming from rising 2C and avoid dangerous climate change if governments take action over the next five years.

To support the demand sustainably, global adoption of energy efficiency and clean energy must rise significantly, with a US$15.2 trillion investment in clean energy needed. This will be largely offset by a US$4.6 trillion decline in investment in fossil fuels.  

The report suggests that although clean technologies are advancing naturally, up-take will be accelerated act if policies rapidly change in support of adoption and investment. 

"Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy," said Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director IEA. "Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low carbon technologies. The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge."

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group says: “The IEA is known for its thorough and objective analysis, so this year's World Energy Outlook clearly underlines the urgent need for the Clean Revolution. Fortunately the report shows that this is not only possible but profitable, through continually rising clean energy demand. Large-scale uptake of renewables will cut both energy prices and greenhouse gas emissions. But we must see bold policy changes to speed-up this process. The key to our sustainable energy future will be transformative leadership, and it needs to start now.” 

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