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25 January 2012, Washington Post

Russia will remain China and India’s corner stone for energy for many years, said Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency, today in Moscow. But it needs to invest more into the industry and learn to save energy. “Russia is going through the best times in terms of energy, last year Russia made about $300 billion out of oil and gas”, says Birol. He believes the nuclear accident in Japan and the ‘Arab Spring’ proved how essential the country is to the global energy system. However, it needs to adapt to the changing consumption landscape. “All the energy demand will come from four countries: China, China, China and India,” Birol says. “Economic growth is there and the population is there.” But to meet the increasingly hungry eastern clients Russia needs to invest more in the industry. Mr. Birol estimates an additional $100 billion is needed, which could be spent on developing regions difficult to geological exploration. Yet, he adds the government should also create favourable tax regimes to attract companies into these areas.

23 January 2012, Bloomberg

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said that booming production of unconventional gas, among other things, could power the U.S. economic recovery and help to meet soaring worldwide energy demand while contributing to reduced energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. But first, governments have to address serious environmental problems that include water pollution and methane-gas venting linked to production and extraction of unconventional gas, he said. Birol said existing technology could reduce or eliminate most of these problems, at minimal cost, but in many cases it is not being used, including in the United States. The Paris-based agency is organizing a March 7 workshop in Warsaw convening government officials and regulators from major gas producing states, from the G-20 countries and elsewhere, as well as representatives from oil and gas companies and nongovernmental organizations, he said. IEA will release recommendations produced by the workshop in a study report in May, as an excerpt from its yearly World Energy Outlook that comes out in November, he said.

22 January 2012, Gulf Times, Qatar

According to IEA research, 37 governments spent $409bn on artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels in 2010. Critics say the subsidies significantly boost oil and gas consumption and disadvantage renewable energy technologies, which received only $66bn of subsidies in the same year. Birol and the IEA said that a phase-out would avoid 750m tonnes of CO2 a year by 2015, potentially rising to 2.6 gigatonnes by 2035, a level sufficient to provide half the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 2C, considered the limit of safety by many scientists. “Fossil fuel subsidies are a hand brake as we drive along the road to a sustainable energy future,” he said. “Removing them would take us half way to a trajectory that would hold us to 2C.”

18 January 2012, Eco-Business, Singapore

The European Union’s decision today to impose sanctions against the purchase of oil from Iran allows customers time to find alternative supply, the International Energy Agency said. Fatih Birol, the agency’s chief economist, said that there is no reason to take any action to release inventories amid concern that tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and sanctions may disrupt exports of Middle East oil.

18 January 2012, 7Days, United Arab Emirates

Saudi Arabia has the capacity to make up for Iranian oil exports to Europe should the region’s leaders go ahead with an embargo, according to the International Energy Agency and the Centre for Global Energy Studies. “Saudi Arabia showed once again that they are the central banker of the oil industry,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, a Paris-based adviser to developed economies, said in an interview in London on Friday.

18 January 2012, Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey

Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, talks about the price of oil. He speaks with Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Televisions "The Pulse" on the sidelines of the World Economic Forums annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

18 January 2012, The Guardian

In President Obama’s third State of the Union address, he devoted more time than before to covering energy issues. One of the topics he mentioned is a call for an end to tax breaks for the petroleum industry. “We have subsidized oil companies for a century,” he said. “That’s long enough.” Obama has urged such a move several times before, as has Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, who said cutting fossil fuel subsidies would get the world halfway to reaching ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

17 January 2012, Zawya Dow Jones

Fatih Birol, chief economist of the influential International Energy Agency (IEA), told energy industry executives in Abu Dhabi yesterday that as long as prices at the pump are artificially cheap, alternative forms of renewable energy will struggle to catch on. “Today, the most important roadblock for renewable energy implementation is the world’s fossil fuel subsidies,” said Birol, whose forecasts are read by oil ministers around the world. He put the value of global fuel subsidies at $400 billion and said they were a sign of muddled thinking by lawmakers. “You say you want to have a higher share of renewables then you protect and foster fossil fuels by giving substantial subsidies - it doesn’t work,” he said.

17 January 2012, Business Green

At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the person who was able to divert attention from the optimist atmosphere in general to the realities of life was the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol. Look at what Fatih Birol, Ph.D., said: “Subsidiaries provided for fossil fuel in 2010 are around $409 billion. Only 8 percent of this has gone to the poor. Supporting fossil fuels on one hand and trying to increase the share of renewable energy on the other hand is not a wise approach.” I think Birol is 100 percent right. As long as these giant subsidies continue for fossil fuels, then renewable energy meetings are doing nothing more than paying lip service.

17 January 2012, Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates

Click here to see the Guardian Special on the World Energy Outlook’s work on fossil-fuel subsidies, including a link to download data as a spreadsheet.