Friday, November 13, 2009

6°C rise in temperature predicted by 2030: irreparable harm to planet

According to the International Energy Agency, the recovery from the current recession could spark a massive energy crisis with increased demand for fossil fuels from China and other developing countries, tighter oil supplies and skyrocketing oil prices.
The longer-term picture looks even more challenging. If the world continues to guzzle oil and gas at its present pace, global temperatures will rise by an average of 6°C by 2030, causing "irreparable damage to the planet."
The agency's annual World Economic Outlook report was released on Nov. 10.
The warning from the IEA, an intergovernmental energy watchdog based in Paris, could add extra weight to the negotiations leading up to the climate-change summit in Copenhagen next month, when leaders will attempt to come to an agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol's limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.
The IEA report says the world faces a looming disaster if its leaders drag their feet in Copenhagen. Among the predictions likely to alarm the big energy consumers:
• Unless there is an "energy revolution," the planet will heat up by about 6°C by 2030 - about three times the rate of global warming that is considered manageable by most scientists. That, says the normally sober IEA, "would lead almost certainly to massive climatic change and irreparable damage to the planet."
• The global recession has brought the first significant yearly drop in energy demand since 1981, giving the planet a rare breather from carbon emissions. But this is a "unique" moment, the report says, whose gains will be quickly obliterated without a significant move toward alternative energies. The impending energy crisis is "far greater than many people realize," it says.
• Energy demand will rebound sharply once the recession ends and rise about 40 percent by 2030. Fossil fuels - oil, coal and gas - will make up about three-quarters of the global increase in energy consumption.
• Coal usage will grow annually about 2.5 percent from now to 2030, which could lead to massive increases in air pollution.
• Without the energy revolution that the IEA says is necessary, oil prices will rise by 2020 to about $100 a bbl. in pre-2008 dollar values and by 2030 to about $115 a bbl.
To avoid all this, the IEA says the world needs to spend about $10.5 trillion in extra money from 2010 to 2030 to foster new low-carbon energy sources.

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