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10 October 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek

More than 1 billion people in poor countries around the world could have access to electricity within 20 years, if the international community is prepared to make the effort, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday. Giving poor people access to electricity – more than a century after it became available to the rich – would cost about $48bn a year, and would have huge advantages in terms of health, education and economic growth, a global study for the IEA concluded. Moreover, it would not require a leap in greenhouse gas emissions, as low-carbon energy could make up a large part of the new energy sources to bring the poor into step with the modern world. The IEA study forms part of its annual "World Energy Outlook" report, its respected and eagerly awaited update on the worlds energy scene, encompassing climate change, energy access and forecasts of pressures on the oil price. This years report will also include information on shale gas, following the IEAs summer publication of a report dismantling some of the claims from the fossil fuel industry that the world is entering a "golden age of gas".

10 October 2011, Commodities Now

Lacking access to electricity affects health, well-being and income, says Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA). "Its a problem the world has to pay attention to." The U.N. has already declared 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and on Oct. 10 the IEA released a special report that details the problem of energy access and outlines how a universal power grid might be financed. The need for clean cooking stoves — 2.7 billion people lack them, an offshoot of the energy-access problem — is rising up the development agenda as well. The experts analyses about how solvable these problems are is surprisingly sunny: according to the IEAs analysis, it would be possible to achieve universal energy access for the world by 2030 with around $48 billion a year in global investment. "We very much have the capacity to make a difference in this field," says Birol, who has worked for years to call attention to electricity access. No one needs to stay in the dark.”

10 October 2011, Scandinavian Oil-Gas Magazine

Global oil demand may be more robust than expected, even with a slowdown in economic growth in the United States and Europe, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday. Fatih Birol told Reuters on the sidelines of an oil industry conference that fuel consumption in Asia and in the Middle East was holding up fairly well. "The decline in oil demand may not be so big," Birol said. "Oil is needed to burn at power generators in Japan following the tragic accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant." He added, "and ... we are seeing good numbers from the Middle East and China. Demand from the Middle East and China is still very strong". Birol said oil demand was mainly driven by the economy: "I see major question marks on the European economy and doubts on the U.S. economy. We also have to look at whether or not the Chinese economy is going to slow down. These are the downside for oil demand," Birol said.

10 October 2011, Agence France Presse

At the same time OPEC cut its forecast to below one million barrels per day, the head of the International Energy Agency expressed optimism demand remains relatively strong in the wake of nuclear outages and tight supply. “The decline in oil demand may not be so big,” Fatih Birol said. “Oil is needed to burn at power generators in Japan following the tragic accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant. “And … we are seeing good numbers from the Middle East and China. Demand from the Middle East and China is still very strong,” he said, according to Reuters.

10 October 2011, Taiwan News

The door to 2C is closing, the IEA warned on Wednesday, in its World Energy Outlook 2011. If stringent new action is not forthcoming by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place will generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035, leaving no room for additional power plants, factories and other infrastructure unless they are zero-carbon, which would be extremely costly. The IEAs chief economist, Fatih Birol, said: I am very worried - if we dont change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety] … if we do not have an international agreement, whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door will be closed forever. We are not on track for two degrees. Far from it. Under the IEAs new policies scenario, if the worlds governments cautiously implement their post-Copenhagen policy commitments - and Australia, for example, hits its bipartisan 5 per cent emissions reductions target - the world warms by 3.5 degrees or more. As this column has written before, the difference between two and four degrees warming is alarming.

10 October 2011, Agence France Presse

In a new study launched Wednesday by the International Energy Agency (IEA), weeks ahead of the Durban Climate Change talks, scientists warn that if the current trend to build high-carbon generating infrastructures continues, the worlds carbon budget will be swallowed up by 2017, leaving the planet more vulnerable than ever to the effects of irreversible climate change. According to the IEAs World Energy Outlook, todays energy choices are likely to commit the world to much higher emissions for the next few decades. The current industrial infrastructure is already producing 80% of the worlds "carbon budget".

4 October 2011, Reuters

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates governments spent $409bn (£266bn) on fossil fuel subsidies in 2010. This figure is a 36% rise on the previous year. Support for oil products represented almost half of the total. The IEA warns the aid is likely to increase to $660bn (£430bn) by 2020 unless action is taken. The agency claims subsidies are inefficient and encourage wasteful energy use. It says efforts to artificially cut costs encourage volatile price swings because they blur market signals. As a result it says they often fail to help the poorest households they are targeted at. The IEA says phasing out the payments should make renewable energy sources, such as wind power, become more competitive. It says that would stimulate investment in the sector and create new jobs. It says subsidy cuts would also encourage consumers and businesses to become more energy efficient.

4 October 2011, Bloomberg

Subsidies to fossil-fuel consumers often fail to meet their intended objectives of alleviating energy poverty or promoting economic development and instead create wasteful use of energy, contribute to price volatility by blurring market signals, encourage fuel smuggling, and lower the competitiveness of renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies, according to analyses by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy Agency. IEA estimates subsidies that artificially reduce the price of fossil fuels amounted to $409 billion in 2010, almost $110 billion higher than in 2009. This is based on the IEAs global survey to identify economies that artificially lower end-user prices for fossil fuels to below the full cost of supply.

4 October 2011, Business Green

“Governments and taxpayers spent about half a trillion dollars last year supporting the production and consumption of fossil fuels,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. “In a period of persistently high energy prices, subsidies represent a significant economic liability,” it said in an extract of its annual World Energy Outlook, which is due to be published in full on Nov. 9. “It’s a huge amount of money,” the IEA’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol said. “Without further reform, spending on fossil fuel consumption subsidies is set to reach $660 billion in 2020, or 0.7 percent of global gross domestic product,” Birol added.

4 October 2011, Commodities Now

The International Energy Agency said Tuesday it wants world governments to curb state subsidies for fossil fuels as a way to help the environment, ease strains on national budgets and boost economies. The Paris-based organization of developed and heavy oil-consuming nations estimates that $409 billion in state subsidies were paid out last year — a striking 33 percent increase from the year before.