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IEA urges int'l efforts to address global energy challenges

(Xinhua)

13:41, November 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- There is an urgent need for governments to define objectives and implement necessary policies to address global energy challenges, said International Energy Agency (IEA) chief economist Fatih Birol here Monday.

The recently-released World Energy Outlook 2011 showed that in the climate change mitigation scenarios, four-fifths of the total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions permissible by 2035 are already "locked-in" by our existing power plants, factories, and other infrastructures.

The report also pointed out worrying key trends such as carbon dioxide emissions rebounding to a record high, energy efficiency of global economy worsening for the second straight year, and spending in oil imports nearing record highs.

Birol warned that if strict and new action is not taken by 2017, the existing energy-related infrastructure will not have enough room for additional carbon dioxide emission to stay within the global average temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius, above which point would be considered intolerably dangerous climate change.

"Economic concerns have diverted attentions from energy policy and limited means of intervention," said IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven in a discussion hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Birol recommended two options to help tackle the energy concerns: one is to cut subsidies for fossil fuels and the other is to improve energy efficiency.

According to the report, in 2010, the subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to 409 billion U.S. dollars while only 66 billion dollars went to renewable energies.

IEA also projected that the rise in income and population will increase the energy needs by one-third from 2010 to 2035 and the average IEA crude oil import price to 120 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2035.

The IEA was established in November 1974 and aims to promote energy security among member countries through collective response to physical disruption in oil supply and provide research and analysis on ways to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for the world.

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