The International Energy Agency’s “World Energy Outlook 2010″ doesn’t paint a pretty picture of our climate and energy future, and even the image it does present is far too rosy.
The report is correct in this: there’s a lot we could be doing — can, in fact, do … if we actually had the resolve — to become more sustainable. And, it rightly notes, we’re moving too slowly, too cautiously, and every day of delay will end up costing us dearly.
But consider some of the projections the WEO-2010 is making:
The late Matthew Simmons, author of “Twilight in the Desert,” would certainly have had a lot to say about the IEA’s latest energy predictions. But the new outlook also flies in the face of recent warnings from the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil & Energy Security, the US military and a German think-tank, all of which released studies this year indicating that we have either already reached peak global oil production or will do so within the next two to five years.
At least this year’s WEO spells out the risks we’re taking due to inaction on the climate end. Over the past year, our sluggish response to curbing carbon emissions, it warns, has already added another $1 trillion to the likely cost of keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 450 parts per million or less … the level believed necessary to prevent dangerous climate change of more than 2 degrees C.
While we have the technology to respond now, “the required rate of technological transformation would be unprecedented,” according to the IEA.
“The message here is clear,” said Nobuo Tanaka, the IEA’s executive director. “We must act now to ensure that climate commitments are interpreted in the strongest way possible and that much stronger commitments are adopted and taken up after 2020, if not before. Otherwise, the 2°C goal could be out of reach for good.”