IEA Report: World's Renewables to Rise but Climate Future Challenging

November 16, 2011

The International Energy Agency (IEA) launched its 2011 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) on November 9 with the report projecting a rise in renewables from 13% of the energy mix to 18% worldwide by 2035. However, the agency's flagship publication noted that such growth in renewables would rely on subsidies that rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $250 billion in 2035, a premise that is uncertain in times of tight governmental budgets.

In the WEO's central New Policies Scenario, which assumes that recent government commitments are implemented cautiously, primary energy demand increases by one-third between 2010 and 2035, with 90% of the growth in economies outside of the 34-member Oganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Two of the non-OECD countries, China and India, will account for 50% of the growth. The report projects that China will consolidate its position as the world's largest energy consumer, using nearly 70% more energy than the United States does by 2035. In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, which could lead to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5°C. China's per-capita emissions could match the OECD average in 2035. The authors warned that if new efficiency policies are not implemented, the world could track to an increase of 6°C. See the IEA press releasePDF and the World Energy Outlook website.