International Energy Agency's world energy outlook runs out of control

Press release - 26 October, 2004
Amsterdam, October 26th 2004 -- Greenpeace today criticized the International Energy Agency (IEA) to fail to properly assess the world's energy trends for the next decades in its "World Energy Outlook 2004" which was presented today. The IEA contradicts its own publications on energy efficiency and ignores the scientifically recognized need for an urgent, global shift away from fossil fuels in the interest of protecting the climate.

"With this report, the IEA sends a dangerous signal to policy makers and the industry worldwide to continue to massively waste energy, burn fossil fuels and forget about climate change," says Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace International.

The IEA today presented its annual 'World Energy Outlook', which predicts that if governments stick with the policies in force, the world's energy needs will be almost 60% higher in 2030 than they are now, electricity demand will double and CO2 emissions will increase by more than 60%.

In IEA's view, fossil fuels will continue to dominate, with shares of nuclear power and renewable energy remaining limited. Furthermore, they neglect their own research on energy efficiency (1) and disregard the draft EU directive on energy efficiency, which sets an objective of decreasing energy demand by 1% per year (2).

Aside from their 'Reference' scenario, the IEA is presenting an 'Alternative' scenario with a decrease of CO2 emissions by 16%, needing a "technological breakthrough" and a shift to renewable and nuclear power.

"Despite the 'Alternative' scenario, the IEA remains fixated on old and dirty fossil fuel technologies, and neglects the ongoing boom of renewable energy technologies," says Jan Vande Putte. "Wind energy has been growing at an average of 30% over the last decade and is costs competitive with coal and cheaper then nuclear power, despite massive subsidies for both dirty technologies." (3)

The UK goverment's Energy Review estimates that by 2020 wind power will be the cheapest available electricity source, even beating gas. A report from Greenpeace and the European Wind Energy Association estimates that by 2020, more than 12% of the global electricity needs could be generated by wind. The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) (4) estimated that by 2030, renewables could supply 35% of the global energy needs.

"By massively investing in available renewable and efficiency technologies and ruling out dirty and expensive nuclear and fossil fuels, a genuinely sustainable energy sector is possible." said Jan Vande Putte. "With an estimated 16 trillion dollars to be invested in the next 25 years, the world has a clear choice: either put the money in destruction or in solutions."

Notes: 1) IEA, Cool Appliances - Policy Strategies for Energy Efficient Homes. Paris, 2003. 2) 2) European Commission, Proposal for a Directive on the Promotion of End-use efficiency and Energy Services, COM (2003) 739 final. EWEA and GREENPEACE, Wind Force 12. May 2004. EREC, Renewable Energy Scenario to 2040. 2004.