The International Energy Agency is one of the more successful of all the international institutions. It has avoided the rocks of ideology – unlike the IMF – and the sands of overweening bureaucracy – unlike the World Bank.
The Agency produces some excellent studies and first class data. But it badly needs to keep up with the times. No international agency working on energy should be excluding China and India from full membership.
The IEA was established in 1974 as a grouping of energy – particularly oil – importing countries to combat the market dominance of Opec. The crucial agreement behind its establishment was acceptance of the need to share the burden of adjustment in the event of any major supply disruption. “Rationing” – though the word was never used – was clearly preferable to a free-for-all bidding war in which countries sought to secure supplies for themselves.