The World Energy Outlook 2007 published by the International Energy Agency demonstrates more clearly than ever that, if governments don't change their policies, oil and gas imports, coal use and greenhouse-gas emissions are set to grow inexorably through to 2030 - even faster, in fact, than in last year's Outlook. These trends would threaten energy security and accelerate climate change. But the Outlook also shows how new policies can pave the way to an alternative energy future.
Energy developments in China and India are transforming the global energy system as a result of their sheer size and their growing importance in international energy markets. Rapid economic development will continue to drive up energy demand in China and India. The World energy outlook considers the aspiration for improvement in the quality of life as a legitimate aspiration that needs to be accommodated and supported by the rest of the world. It is also stated that most countries benefit economically from China's and India's economic development through international trade.
The consequences of unfettered growth in global energy demand are described as alarming for all countries. If governments around the world stick with existing policies the world's energy needs would be well over 50% higher in 2030 than today. Worldwide, fossil fuels - oil, gas and coal - continue to dominate the fuel mix. These trends lead to continued growth in global energy-related emissions of carbon-dioxide (CO2), from 27 Gt in 2005 to 42 Gt in 2030 - a rise of 57%. China is expected to overtake the United States to become the world's biggest emitter in 2007 and China's per-capita emissions almost reach those of OECD Europe by 2030.
Government action can alter these trends by implementing policies they are considering today. But even in the Alternative Policy Scenario, global CO2 emissions are still one-quarter above current levels in 2030. In a «450 Stabilisation Case«, which describes a notional pathway to long-term stabilisation of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at around 450 parts per million, global emissions peak in 2012 and then fall sharply below 2005 levels by 2030. Exceptionally quick and vigorous policy action by all countries, and unprecedented technological advances, entailing substantial costs, would be needed to make this case a reality. The report emphasizes on the urgent need for immediate and collective action.