Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Convert to End of Oil

The International Energy Agency which has long pooh-poohed concerns about energy shortages has had a sudden change of heart. Their new report claims new energy demands from India and China constitute a future global crisis which only immediate massive investments in alternate energy can avert.

Wired Autopia blog:
As an overall piece of the global energy pie, oil will shrink as demand for coal skyrockets 73 percent and the use of natural gas and electricity climb too, the IEA says. Meeting the demand for all that fossil fuel will require investing $22 trillion in the supply infrastructure.

But of perhaps greater concern is the environmental impact of such growth. Without sweeping changes, the report states, carbon dioxide emissions will rise 57 percent to 42 gigatons by 2030. Even under the best case-scenario, which assumes the various proposals by industrialized nations to reduce emissions come to pass, emissions will climb 25 percent.

China and India will account for two-thirds of the increase, and even under the best circumstances any meaningful effort to cut emissions below current levels will require "exceptionally quick and vigorous policy actions by all countires, and unprecedented technological advances, entailing substantial costs," the report states.

So what can we do? The IEA doesn't offer a whole lot of solutions beyond saying improving energy efficiency - of everything, from automobiles to refrigerators - will be the quickest and cheapest way to begin curbing energy demand and carbon emissions. Clearly that won't be enough, and the IEA makes that point clear when it says we must explore every option and "a substantial increase is called for in public and private funding for energy technology research, development and demonstration."

How much funding? As we reported in "How Hydrogen Can Save America," the U.S. could shift much of its economy from oil to hydrogen within a decade for $100 billion - about what we spent in today's dollars to put a man on the moon.
America and the world will spend a long time recovering from the Supreme Court choosing Bush as president.

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