31 May 2011, Der Spiegel
Several factors may lead to natural gas playing a more prominent role in the global energy mix, however, natural gas is not the "panacea" to solve climate change, according to new research from the International Energy Agency. Previously inaccessible sources of gas are predicted to create a "golden age of gas" with lower prices and plentiful supply. When burned for power, gas produces half the carbon of coal. "Gas is a fortunate fuel because all its competitors have some problems," said Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA and one of the worlds foremost authorities on energy and climate. Coal suffers high emissions, renewables can be expensive, and there are safety fears over nuclear after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. However, the IEA also warned that gas could push out renewables, if governments come under pressure to reduce renewables subsidies and opt for gas instead. Moreover, reliance on gas would lead the world to a 3.5C temperature rise, according to the IEA. At such a level, global warming could run out of control.
30 May 2011, The Guardian
After a fall of global carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009, energy-related CO2 emission reached a record high in 2010, up by 5 percent from last record in 2008, according to the latest estimates by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). 2010 emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt), while 80 percent of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are those unlikely to be changed, the energy agency said. In terms of fuels, according to IEA, 44 percent of the estimated CO2 emissions in 2010 came from coal, 36 percent from oil, and 20 percent from natural gas. Region by region, the IEA estimated that 40 percent of global emissions came from OECD countries in 2010, while non-OECD emerging economies saw stronger increase in the emission as their economic growth accelerated. In addition, on a per capita basis, OECD countries collectively emitted 10 tons, more than 5.8 tons in China and 1.5 tons in India.
12 May 2011, Financial Times
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency. The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change"– is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions. The IEA has calculated that if the world is to escape the most damaging effects of global warming, annual energy-related emissions should be no more than 32Gt by 2020. If this years emissions rise by as much as they did in 2010, that limit will be exceeded nine years ahead of schedule, making it all but impossible to hold warming to a manageable degree.
29 April 2011, CNN Money
In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said oil use is set to increase by up to 3 million barrels a day over the next few months as refineries meet rising demand for fuel products. His comments come as oil futures are trading at more than two-and-a-half year highs, a level that has increased costs for businesses and strained consumers budgets.
29 April 2011, Dow Jones Newswires
Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, told the Financial Times that rising oil prices had “more than offset” the strenuous efforts of developing countries to reduce the cost of fuel subsidies. The cost of a barrel of oil averaged $80 last year, compared with $61 in 2009, rendering it more expensive to hold down retail prices for consumers. “Despite these efforts, the subsidies in 2010 are significantly higher than they were in 2009,” said Mr Birol. The final figures for the total cost of subsidies last year will become available in November. The IEA calculates that some $60bn must be invested in global oil production capacity every year, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, in order to satisfy global demand. Political instability may deter international companies from investing in this region, while the cost of subsidies may also crowd out domestic capital. “Some of this money may be diverted to address some of the domestic needs of the population, including energy subsidies,” said Mr Birol. Read the full article on the FT site (registration required).
28 April 2011, ABC News
A global warming target could be missed three times over if countries fail to promote clean energy, the International Energy Agency warned Thursday, amid a possible slowdown in atomic power growth. In its annual report last year, the IEA projected that 360 gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity would be added worldwide by 2035, on top of the 390 gigawatts already in use. However fears over the use of nuclear power could see the IEA halve its projection to 180 gigawatts, its chief economist Fatih Birol told AFP earlier this month.
28 April 2011, Agence France Presse
High oil prices are here to stay and theyre caused by surging demand and limited new supply, not Wall Street speculators. Thats the message from Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency. "Speculators are only responding to what is going on in the markets," Birol said during an interview with CNN Money in New York. "We dont see enough oil in the markets. The major driver is supply and demand." Birol said growth in worldwide oil demand is outstripping growth in new supplies by 1 million barrels a day per year. Much of that new demand is coming from China, adding nearly 20 million vehicles to its roads each year, he said. Plus, countries that export oil are not doing enough to invest in new production, and countries that use a lot of oil are not doing enough to cut back. "Oil will be more and more expensive unless countries like the U.S. and China use less," he said.
25 April 2011, Manila Bulletin
One major indicator of inflation is the price of petrol and the latest information from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows it will only get more expensive. IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol says oil prices are likely to rise 30 per cent over the next three years. "The existing fields are declining so sharply that in order to stay where we are in terms of production levels in the next 25 years, we have to find and develop four new Saudi Arabias," he said. "It is a huge, huge challenge that we continue to underline." Dr Birol says although peak crude oil production is already behind us, liquid natural gases may provide a viable alternative. But he underlines that the age of cheap oil is over. "The amount of increase in the oil input bill in Europe is equal to the government budget deficit of Greece plus Portugal put together," he said, adding "additional pressure on the financing of many governments who are the oil importers." Dr Birol further explained that the oil reserves might be there but the access is not. He also says it could be in the best interest of producers if crude oil is not always flooding the market. "The producers, intentionally or unintentionally, may not bring the oil under the reserves to the markets," he said. "For some producers, it is better that oil doesnt come to market so they would like to see perhaps higher prices as a result of tightness in the markets." The IEA says governments around the world need to rethink their reliance on oil.
13 April 2011, Frankfurter Allgemeine
The IEA hit the nail on the head when it warned that: “rising oil prices will drive up inflation as the cost of oil has a knock-on effect on many other products, such as transport and food.” IEA chief economist Dr. Fatih Birol explained that the rising prices also signify wealth transfer from the oil importing to exporting countries. In simpler terms, it entails that import-dependent countries (such as in the case of the Philippines) will be stripped more of its cash resources as it will need to cough up more money for oil purchases; while the exporting or oil-producing countries may benefit from momentary windfalls. “This will have an impact on balance of payments of countries”, the IEA official averred. Comparing it with a bank statement showing all the transactions of a particular country with others throughout the world, he further noted that “with importing countries spending more on oil, the balance on their payments can be badly affected.”
4 April 2011, Agence France Presse
The catastrophe at Fukushima can alter the current energy balance, warned International Energy Agency Chief Economist Dr. Fatih Birol. In an interview with Le Monde, he expressed concern that the fall-out from the nuclear catastrophe which, if calling into question investments in the nuclear industry, could lead to a higher consumption of fossil fuels, higher energy prices and a worsening of global warming. "Any change in the energy portfolio will lead to higher energy prices, and will also negatively impact our efforts to fight climate change’’, Dr. Birol said. The additional use of fossil fuels to compensate for the loss of nuclear energy capacity "would lead to an extra 0.5 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2035, which is equivalent to five years of growth in CO2 emissions’’, Dr. Birol said.