World leaders have pledged to act to change the future shape of the global energy economy. Since the 2006 edition of the WEO, some new policies have been put in place to that effect. Yet in the Reference Scenario in this year’s WEO, which takes these new policies into account, projected global energy demand in 2030 is higher than before and the supply and emissions trends are worsening. What is going on?
One key answer is sustained high levels of economic growth in the new giants of the world economy. China and India together account for nearly half of the entire growth in world energy demand between 2005 and 2030. China is likely to have overtaken the United States to become the world’s largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide this year and, by 2015, India will be the thirdlargest emitter. By around 2010, China will overtake the United States to become the world’s largest consumer of energy. In 2030, India will be the thirdlargest oil importer in the world. Over the period to 2030, China will install more new electricity generating capacity than exists in the United States today. China and India need to sustain a phenomenal rate of economic growth. There are still over 400 million people in India without access to electricity. Access to clean burning fuels for cooking and space heating in rural China is still very limited, despite the near-total success of its rural electrification programme. In both countries, the aspirations of a burgeoning middle class are driving social and economic change. There can be no moral grounds for expecting China and India selectively to curb their economic growth simply because world energy demand is rising unacceptably, with associated risks of supply interruptions, high prices and damage to the environment. These are global problems to be tackled on a global basis.
How those problems might be tackled is illustrated in the Alternative Policy Scenario, which forms an important part of the analysis in this book. Known means exist to cut energy demand and change the fuel mix. Global energyrelated CO2 emissions could be nearly 20% lower by 2030, having levelled off in the 2020s. A volume of oil equal to the entire current oil output of the United States, Canada and Mexico can be removed from world demand by 2030. China and India are increasingly demonstrating their recognition of the need to act – for example, through their commitment to greater energy efficiency, more renewables and cleaner coal technology – with other countries to make the energy future sustainable.
To attain the much more ambitious long-term objective of stabilising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the measures considered would still not be enough; but the possible implications of that objective, too, are examined in the 450 Stabilisation case, set out in Chapter 5. On the other hand, growth in the world’s economic tigers could be still higher than we have assumed. We set out the consequences of that. They are not all bad. Most countries outside China and India would benefit economically, despite the feedback to higher energy demand and prices.
China and India account for a share of global primary demand which is growing at a phenomenal rate – but it will still be no higher than some 30% in 2030. Through this Outlook, the IEA seeks to communicate both parts of this message – the significance of the growth of energy demand in China and India, but also their place in world total demand and their modest use of energy per capita – and then to help realise the global co-operation which, alone, can create a sustainable energy future.
I am immensely proud to have the opportunity to present this latest volume in the acclaimed WEO series, a series which has been so carefully nurtured by my predecessor, Claude Mandil. I pay tribute to him, to Fatih Birol, who has again directed with talent his excellent WEO team, and to the many others who have contributed to this work. It is particularly gratifying that this edition has been the occasion for close collaboration between the Chinese and Indian authorities and the IEA. This is a relationship which symbolises the interdependence of the global energy community. It is one which I shall do my best to safeguard and develop, hopefully paving the way, with the support of all the governments concerned, to an ultimate objective of their future membership of the International Energy Agency.