Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Future energy demand will impact our lives

"The increase in China's energy demand between 2002 and 2005 was equivalent to Japan's current annual energy use."; so writes Martin Wolf in an article in the Financial Times. Wolf says this nugget is buried in the International Energy Agency's latest 'World Energy Outlook'.

Here are some other highlights of the IEA report:

First, if countries stay with current practices the world's energy needs will be more than 50 per cent higher in 2030 than today; developing countries accounting for 74 per cent, and China and India alone for 45 per cent, of the growth in demand.

Second, fossil fuels are forecast to account for 84 per cent of the increase in global energy consumption between 2005 and 2030.

Third, coal's share in global energy production is forecast to rise from 25 per cent to 28 per cent between 2005 and 2030, because of its use in power generation. China and India already account for 45 per cent of world coal use.

Fourth, China will become the world's largest energy consumer, ahead of the US, after 2010.

Fifth, emissions of carbon dioxide will jump by 57 per cent between 2005 and 2030. The US, China, Russia and India alone contribute two-thirds of this increase. China becomes the world's biggest emitter this year and India the third largest by 2015.

Sixth, even under the "alternative energy policy scenario" CO2 emissions stabilize by 2025 and remain almost 30 per cent above 2005 levels.

Energy security and the likely shift in the balance of power towards countries that are no friends of the United States such as Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are serious problems for our country. A growing proportion of the fuels come from these few suppliers and these countries are becoming richer. Revenues of OPEC alone are forecast to triple between 2002 and this year. Increased income will enable enemies of the United States to cause more harm to us and threaten the country on many fronts. The problem of security results in part from difficulty in replacing oil as a fuel and the concentration of the world supply in the troubled Middle East, and from Europe's growing reliance on Russia's natural resources.

The global warming alarmists' wrong-headed view of the cause of global warming is another source of future energy problems. Political global warming-believers will require big changes by developed countries, particularly the United States, not least of which are dramatic changes in power generation. The most important change will be the drive to eliminate coal as an energy source because of the erroneous belief that coal-fired power plants producing CO2 are at least partially responsible for global warming.

The bottom line is that energy is our 'staff of life'. As demand for energy rises nothing is more important than assuring increased supply by reining in environmentalists and global warming fanatics. Unless the energy problem is solved soon, our quality of life will be sacrificed on the alter of environmentalism.

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