Thoughts on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2009

by frog

The latest from the IEA is hot of the press. I’m curious to see what they have to say this time around, because their stance on oil supplies has shifted quite a lot recently. They used to believe oil supplies would last for a long long time, but are now saying 2020 will be the peak of production.

Apparently the report claims a connection between the high oil price in recent years and the financial crisis, which others have been saying for a while, but it would be interesting to hear that from an institution like the IEA. So far I’ve only gotten my hands on the executive summary, which makes no mention of that though.

Other than the eye popping trillion dollars of investment needed each year to ensure oil supply keeps up with demand (last year they were saying only 360 billion…), here are a few things which jumped out at me from the summary:

Quite conservative estimates for oil prices (already too low!)
“Oil prices are assumed to fall from the 2008 level of $97 per barrel to around $60 per barrel in 2009 (roughly the level of mid-2009), but then rebound with the economic recovery to reach $100 per barrel by 2020 and $115 per barrel by 2030 (in year-2008 dollars).”

Acknowledgement of the fact that 450ppm will give us only a 50% chance of hitting the 2 degrees of warming target
“To limit to 50% the probability of a global average temperature increase in excess of 2°C, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would need to be stabilised at a level around 450 ppm CO2-eq”

It ends with an urgent call to action on climate change
“A critical ingredient in the success of efforts to prevent climate change will be the speed with which governments act on their commitments. Saving the planet cannot wait. For every year that passes, the window for action on emissions over a given period becomes narrower — and the costs of transforming the energy sector increase. We calculate that each year of delay before moving onto the emissions path consistent with a 2°C temperature increase would add approximately $500 billion to the global incremental investment cost of $10.5 trillion for the period 2010-2030. A delay of just a few years would probably render that goal completely out of reach. If this were the case, the additional adaptation costs would be many times this figure. Countries attending the UN Climate Change Conference must not lose sight of this. The time has come to make the hard choices needed to turn promises into action.”

SeekingAlpha have done a summary of the executive summary, for the truly rushed among us.

frog says

Published in Environment & Resource Management by frog on Wed, November 11th, 2009   

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