Daily Archives: November 10, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

Claims that the US has pressured the IEA to put a more optimistic spin on future oil supplies gained a huge amount of attention today. But how likely is it? As Kevin Drum on Mother Jones wrote today:

It’s almost certainly true that analysts within the IEA disagree with each other about long-term projections, and it’s also probably true that there are regional pressures of various kinds within the organization. That’s pretty normal for international groups.

There are some arguments for, certainly. The US is the most powerful member of the IEA member country. It is also the member that publishes the most comprehensive statistics on its own energy production and consumption. So of all the member countries who might lean on the IEA, the US would be in the best position to do so.

The question is, why would the US do this? We were baffled by this sentence attributed to one of the Guardian’s sources: Read more

Ed Crooks

The International Energy Agency (IEA) holds some remarkably radical views for a government-backed multinational organisation, particularly one which has been accused of being in thrall to the US.

Launching its World Energy Outlook – heavily trailed in the FT – on Tuesday, the IEA called for a revolution in the industry to tackle the threat of climate change.

Above all, it stressed the need for a significantly higher price of carbon credits than is currently effective in the European Union, or initially envisaged in the US.

As Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, put it to the FT, two numbers will shape the future of the world’s energy supplies: 450 and 147.

450 parts per million is the maximum concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere compatible with giving the world a 50/50 chance of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C: the level agreed by leading economies’ governments as the acceptable limit for climate change. Read more

Sheila McNulty

KL Energy says it is the only company in the US with an industrial scale demonstration plant producing cellulosic ethanol. And it is ready to build commercial plants to produce cellulosic ethanol in four continents – north America, south America, Asia and Europe.

Cellulosic ethanol – where liquid fuel is produced from starchy material such as corn husks – is one of the one of the great hopes of biofuels industry, because it means fuel can be made from plant sources without the need to compete with food crops.

But KL first needs funding for its proposed plants. The credit crisis has not only made it difficult for everyone to get credit, but especially those venturing into new, untested areas and looking for project finance. The key is to tie up with a big name company who can get access to finances. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Fossil fuel use must peak by 2020, warns IEA

Ask Dr Fatih Birol a question about the new IEA report

Don’t cry for Opec – even in a low-carbon future

IEA warns non-Opec oil supply will peak next year

Goldman still bullish on commodities

Tropical storms and UK nuclear in Spot news

How soon will the UK get its new energy policies?

How to solve ‘carbon leakage’ with carbon trading

Further reading:

Spain sets a new wind-powered record: more than 50% (Environmental Capital/WSJ)

A bright nuclear future: True or false? (Guardian)

More on the Spanish green jobs report (Houston Chronicle)

Power for US from Russia’s old nuclear weapons (NY Times)

EPA sends greenhouse gas finding to White House (BNet)

Build your own solar panels (Times Online)

Australia invests in world’s first utility-scale wave power project (Yale 360) Read more

Kate Mackenzie

How much does the world’s oil-producing bloc have to fear from an international agreement (or perhaps initially, a framework) on carbon dioxide emissions?

Opec members have signalled they are concerned about a Copenhagen agreement before – secretary-general Abdalla Salem El Badri said in September that oil producing countries should not be penalised for what they do. Read more

By Izabella Kaminska

Want another reason to be bullish commodities?

The commodity bulls at Goldman Sachs have put out another ballsy forecast for the market, this time predicting a 17.5 per cent return for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Total Returns Index in the next 12-24 months.

Jeff Currie and his team have specifically singled out oil, copper and corn as chief contributors to the upside outbreak — all of which they say will shift into global deficits in the coming months owing to a “combination of demand and supply drivers”. Read more

Carola Hoyos

The International Energy Agency warned today that the world’s use of fossil fuels will have to peak by 2020 if it is to escape a dangerous spike in global temperatures.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, said at the launch of the agency’s annual flagship World Energy Outlook: “This would be a revolution. This revolution could only take place if there is a financial signal to the energy industry.” He added: “We need a deal in Copenhagen. We need a signal for the energy industry. Without that, nothing will move.”

Better energy efficiency, rapid growth in renewable energy, and increased use of nuclear power will be critical to move the world away from fossil fuels, the IEA believes. A second revolution would have to happen in the automobile industry so that six of every ten cars sold in 2030 are hybrids or electric by 2030. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

The International Energy Agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, will answer Energy Source readers’ questions about the IEA’s 2009 World Energy Outlook.

Questions can be submitted up until midday GMT on Thursday.

Answers will be published early on Monday November 16.

You can post a question in the comments below, or email theenergysource@ft.com. Your email address will not be published or forwarded.

As with previous Q&As, we can’t promise every question will be answered – but keeping your question succinct and original will improve its chances. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Non-Opec oil production will peak next year, the International Energy Agency says in its World Energy Outlook.

The agency’s key annual forecasting report looks at two scenarios of energy demand to 2030: a ‘reference scenario’ in which energy consumption and policies follow current trends, and a ’450 scenario’ in which governments make concerted efforts to limit CO2 concentrations to 450ppm.

Under the no-change reference scenario, the IEA sees global oil demand rising 1 per cent per year, reaching 105m b/d in 2030. This is the same as the agency’s forecast last year. OECD demand, in this scenario, will also fall. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Questions remains on viability and waste
UK nuclear issue swept under the carpet (FT)