The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its flagship annual publication, the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2013, which opens with the following sentence: “Many of the long-held tenets of the energy sector are being rewritten.”
12 November 2013: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its flagship annual publication, the ‘World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2013,’ which opens with the following sentence: “Many of the long-held tenets of the energy sector are being rewritten.”
The report highlights trends on energy importers becoming exporters, global shifts in demand from developed to developing economies, new sources of fossil fuels such as unconventional oil and natural gas, which it reports are re-drawing global energy distributions. The report indicates that evidence is emerging that links between economic growth, energy demand and CO2 emissions can be weakened. The report further finds that increasing regional energy price differences will soon begin to influence industrial competitiveness, as well as investment and corporate strategies.
The WEO predicts that global energy demand will increase by one-third by 2035, driven nearly completely by emerging and developing economies. It suggests that, as the energy sector is responsible for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, much of the burden of mitigating climate change will fall on this sector and these countries.
In the WEO’s energy and climate models, which take into account all policies that have been announced by governments thus far, emissions are expected to rise by 20% by 2035, equating to a global average temperature increase of 3.6°C, well above the internationally agreed 2°C target. It finds, however, that policy has significant potential to further impact this potential outcome.
The IEA estimates that renewables will make up nearly half of the increase in global power production until 2035, with wind and solar making up 45% of that expansion and China seeing the largest absolute gains. For the first time, the report treats energy efficiency essentially as a conventional fuel, and dedicates an entire chapter to the topic.
In addition to exploring global trends, this year the WEO considers Brazil’s energy outlook in particular, and also looks specifically at global trends in oil production and consumption. On Brazil, the report looks at prospects for achieving universal energy access, fossil fuel and other energy subsidies, and energy’s impact on climate change. Regarding oil, it finds that, although output in the Americas is currently increasing, this trend will only last a decade, after which the Middle East will return to its traditional role of the globe’s major oil producing region. [Press release] [Executive Summary] [Fact sheet] [World Energy Outlook 2013 with links to the Executive Summary in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish]