The global energy map is changing “in dramatic fashion”, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today, as it launched the 2012 edition of its World Energy Outlook.
While it’s America’s push on oil and gas production, rather than renewable energy, making the most impact globally, the agency predicts that renewables will become the world’s second-largest source of power generation by 2015 and close in on coal as the primary source by 2035.
However, this rapid increase in the role of renewable energy for power generation “hinges critically on continued subsidies”. In 2011, subsidies for renewables (including for biofuels) amounted to $88 billion – over the period to 2035 they need to increase to $4.8 trillion, the IEA says. Over half of this has already been committed to existing projects or is needed to meet 2020 targets.
Greenpeace quickly picked up on the fact that the IEA’s forecast “shows more work [is] needed to avoid catastrophic climate change”. Government ambition on developing renewable energy is “seriously inadequate” to meet their promises to hold the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, said Sven Teske, energy campaigner with Greenpeace International.
“Renewable energy must grow to 65% of electricity production and energy efficiency must increase by 2035 to reduce the impact of climate change. Otherwise, based on this forecast, the world is still headed for a catastrophic temperature increase of 4 to 6 degrees Celsius,” he said.