8 January 2012, Der Spiegel
Anyone who believes that renewable energies are the most subsidised forms of energy is wrong. Global subsidisation of fossil fuel consumption amounted to $409 billion – €321.3 billion – in 2010, said the International Energy Agency’s Chief Economist Fatih Birol today, adding that this aid is the biggest obstacle to the development of renewables. Fatih Birol noted that, in addition to aid for fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), one of the major obstacles to the transition to a cleaner energy system is the financial and economic crisis that has led some leading European countries to reduce subsidies for renewable technologies. The IEA Chief Economist recalled that between 2000 and 2010 the increase in the use of coal as an energy source was almost equal to the sum of the increase in diesel, natural gas, nuclear and renewables. Moreover, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook shows that fuel subsidies are a very inefficient way of helping the poor: only 8 per cent of the $409 billion spent on subsidising fossil fuels in 2010 reached 20 per cent of the poorest people around the world.
22 December 2011, The Australian
A global economic slowdown and the eurozone debt crisis have curbed government investment in renewable energy, experts warned Tuesday. “There are already some signs that government support may be slowing down in Europe,” chief economist at the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, warned participants in the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Birol named Germany and Spain as countries that have where support for renewables has apparently declined. He said that although the renewable energy sector was continuing to grow, its expansion was “far slower” than it should be to meet demand. “The energy sector needs long-term planning,” he said, arguing that “it would be a pity” if governments fail to fully support the development of renewables.
19 December 2011, Oil & Gas Journal
Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, told reporters at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday that public deficits, along with falling green energy subsidies and decreasing demand for power in developed countries may hinder the expansion of renewable energy projects. "Governments attention is focusing on public deficits and legitimately so," he said. "When theres a fire in the kitchen you cant go to the library and think of what book to take on your summer holiday."Subsidies are falling […] and as a result of lower electricity demand, less power plants will be built. Renewable energy will still grow, but we may see a slowdown in that growth." Furthermore, "lower gas prices [will also] make life much more challenging for renewables," he added. Birols words came as UN chief Ban Ki-Moon today called on the private sector to support his newly launched campaign, Sustainable Energy for All, which marked the beginning of the UN Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
16 December 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek
Speaking at an industry event before the OPECs announcement on production levels due later Wednesday, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol commented that OPEC should maintain its crude production at current levels or increase production due to tight fundamentals and weak economic conditions globally. "Any production lower than todays level will not be good news," with high prices already hurting a global economy mired in recession fears, Birol said. "I would like to see oil prices at lower levels compared to today." In a call to producers, Birol said lower output could push up prices and hurt the worlds economy even more, while falling stocks in developed countries and expected demand growth globally next year provide no reason for production cuts.
15 December 2011,
High oil prices threaten to worsen a global economic slowdown and crude producers should consider boosting output, the chief economist for the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday. "The current high oil prices have the potential to strangle the economic recovery in many countries," Fatih Birol said in a speech in Singapore. "I hope that high oil prices dont slow down Chinese economic growth and the negative effect that would have on the global recovery." "Im sure Opec knows much better than me what to do," Birol said when asked if Opec should raise output. "But seeing that oil prices are still high today and the negative effect that has on the recovery of the global economy, I hope the energy producing countries will take these things into account and make their decision accordingly.", Birol said.
15 December 2011, Energy Tribune
International Energy Agency Chief Economist Dr. Fatih Birol warned that the European debt crisis starts to be felt in the environmental field and that many governments are considering to simply withdraw government support for investments in renewable energy. Click here to read and listen to the full interview.
15 December 2011, United Press International
International Energy Agency Chief Economist Dr. Fatih Birol expressed hopes that OPEC will "make a responsible decision" during its meeting next week. Furthermore, he described Saudi Arabia as the oil market "central bank", and said that all measures that Saudi Arabia is taking in the form of increased production or new investment "are definitely good news" for the market, referring to Tuesdays reports that Saudi Arabia increased production to 10 million barrels per day in November. “When looking at the oil market at the moment it becomes evident that demand will remain strong. There have been some disappointments from stock figures from non-EU countries and a total of stocks in OECD countries, a record low," Birol said.
15 December 2011, Nasdaq
Earth could warm by as much as 6 degrees C, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Implementing the Cancun Agreements, negotiated at last years climate meeting, would bring that temperature rise down to 3.5 degrees C. But to hit the 2-degree C target, the energy sector would need to decrease CO2 output after its peak in 2020, explains Laura Cozzi, principal analyst in the office of the chief economist of the IEA. "Oil demand and coal demand will have to go down from current levels."
14 December 2011, Canadian Business
A boom in liquefied natural gas exports and growing demand in Asia may pave the way for a trading hub in Singapore and a benchmark price for the fuel, according to the International Energy Agency. “There is a huge, new wave of LNG projects coming to the market,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based International Energy Agency said in an interview in the city- state today, citing gas export plans in Australia and Papua New Guinea. “At the same time, we expect substantial growth of demand in Asia,” particularly in China and India, Birol said. The renegotiation of supply contracts by South Korea and Japan, the world’s biggest buyers, may also encourage more trade outside long-term contracts, Birol said. Most LNG is sold on a term basis, while fuel in the spot market is sold cargo-by- cargo. “Put all of them together, and I think we will see a golden age of gas in that region,” Birol said. “Therefore, there is a need for something like spot oil trading.” Singapore, the oil-trading hub of Asia, is “very appropriate” base to build LNG trading, Birol said. A spot market in the city could be developed “through 2020,” he said.
14 December 2011, Bloomberg
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has urged governments to cut their carbon emissions, given a new report that shows developing nations in particular will drive nine-tenths of the growth in global energy demand in the next 25 years. Even as high oil prices of more than US$100 a barrel limit economic growth, developing nations like China, India, Indonesia and Brazil will continue to consume more and more energy, said Dr Fatih Birol, chief economist of the intergovernmental energy organisation yesterday. Dr Birol was speaking to an audience of government and business representatives and journalists at the launch of the World Energy Outlook 2011 here.