Ticking Time Bomb

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The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2007 paints an alarming picture of the future of global warming and energy security, reporting that the world's energy needs will increase by over 50% by 2030.

Energy demand, imports, coal use and greenhouse gas emissions have all increased since last year's accounting. Fossil fuels will continue to dominate the fuel mix, accounting for 84% of the projected overall demand increase from 2005 to 2030.

The agency expects the following developments in the global market: --Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will rise.
--Oil demand will reach 116 million barrels per day by 2030, up 32 million from 2006.
--Coal will see the largest usage increase in absolute terms, rising 73% in the 25-year period, with its share of total energy demand growing from 25% to 28%.
--Electricity use will double, with its share of final energy consumption rising from 17% to 22%. To accommodate this expansion, about $22 trillion in investment is needed to expand the necessary supply infrastructure.

Developing economies by 2030 will account for over half the global energy market. Of the increase in global primary energy demand, 74% will come from developing countries. India and China will account for 45%, the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 20%, and transition economies, 6%. To meet growing energy needs, consuming countries will import more. This will increase their reliance on Russia and the Middle East, and heighten energy security concerns:
--OPEC's share of world oil supply is expected to reach 52% by 2030, up from 42% today.
--Non-OPEC production, including non-conventional sources, is expected to level off at 47 million barrels per day around 2015.
--This assumes the crude oil import price declines to 60 dollars per barrel (in 2006 dollars), then rises slowly to 62 dollars (108 dollar nominal price) by 2030.

The resurgence of coal use is a "marked departure" from past World Energy Outlooks:
--The coal outlook depends on government policy, clean coal technology and relative fuel prices.
--High oil and gas prices may spur development of renewables, energy efficiency and substitution.
--However, high prices make coal competitive as a fuel source, being the cheapest and most secure energy substitute.
--The agency projects that China and India will account for 80% of increased coal use through 2030.

The alternative scenario assumes all governmental energy policies being considered today are implemented. Energy demand in 2030 would be 19% lower than in the reference scenario:
--Global primary energy demand would grow 1.3% per annum rather than 1.8%.
--Oil demand would increase globally to 102 million barrels per day, from 84 million in 2006.
--Coal use would decline from present levels.
--Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions would stabilize within 20 years.Growth assumptions for reference and alternative scenarios are relatively conservative. A high-growth outlook assumes expansion of the Chinese and Indian economies on average 1.5% faster than the reference scenario, leading to an additional 6% increase in global energy demand. Rapid increase in demand in China and India will make mitigating emissions a critical issue.

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