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The International Energy Agency has released the World Energy Outlook 2008 (WEO-2008), which calls for a global energy revolution despite the economic crisis. The WEO-2008 provides analysis to help policy-makers around the world assess and address the challenges posed by worsening oil supply prospects, higher energy prices and rising emissions of greenhouse gases.

In the WEO-2008 reference scenario - which assumes no new government policies - world primary energy demand will grow by 1.6% per year on average between 2006 and 2030, which is an increase of 45%. This is slower than projected last year, mainly due to the impact of the economic slowdown, prospects for higher energy prices and some new policy initiatives.

Modern renewables would grow most rapidly, overtaking gas to become the second-largest source of electricity soon after 2010. China and India are expected to account for over half of incremental energy demand to 2030, while the Middle East could emerge as a major new demand center.

These trends call for energy-supply investment of over $1 trillion annually. Yet the credit squeeze could delay spending, potentially setting up a supply-crunch that could choke economic recovery.

"As the IEA makes clear, wind power can deliver substantial cuts in CO2 emissions in the power sector," says Steve Sawyer, Global Wind Energy Council secretary general. "With the right political frameworks in place, investors will continue to flock into the sector, and wind energy could save a total of 10,000 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020. The clear scientific imperative for the climate negotiations due to resume in Poznan and conclude in Copenhagen next year is to come up with an agreement that will see global emissions peak and begin to decline before 2020, and the rapid deployment of wind power globally will be essential to achieving that goal."

WEO-2008 also analyzes policy options for tackling climate change after 2012, when a new global agreement - to be negotiated at the U.N. Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen next year - is due to take effect. This analysis assumes a hybrid policy approach, comprising a plausible combination of cap-and-trade systems, sectoral agreements and national measures.

SOURCES: International Energy Agency, Global Wind Energy Council





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