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World Energy Prospects and Challenges

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The world is facing twin energy-related threats: that of not having adequate and secure supplies of energy at affordable prices and that of environmental harm caused by its use. Soaring energy prices and recent geopolitical events have reminded us of the essential role affordable energy plays in economic growth and human development, and of the vulnerability of the global energy system to supply disruptions. Safeguarding energy supplies is once again at the top of the international policy agenda. Yet the current pattern of energy supply carries the threat of severe and irreversible environmental damage. Reconciling the goals of energy security and environmental protection requires strong and coordinated government action and public support. The Member countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA) recognise the urgent need to curb the growth in fossil-energy demand, to increase geographic and fuel-supply diversity and to mitigate climate-destabilising emissions. G8 leaders, meeting with the leaders of several major developing countries and heads of international organisations - including the IEA - at Gleneagles in July 2005 and in St. Petersburg in July 2006 called on the IEA to "advise on alternative energy scenarios and strategies aimed at a clean, clever and competitive energy future." The World Energy Outlook 20061 responds to that request. It confirms that fossil-fuel demand and trade flows, and greenhouse-gas emissions would follow their current unsustainable paths through to 2030 in the absence of new government action - the underlying premise of the Outlook's Reference Scenario. It also demonstrates, in an Alternative Policy Scenario, that a package of policies and measures that countries around the world are considering would, if implemented, significantly reduce the rate of increase in demand and emissions.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-05-01

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