Clean energy is 'cost effective'
Nov 7, 2006 BBC News
cleaner and more efficient energy not only helps the
environment but also makes economic sense, according
to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
However, nations are likely to
stick to fossil fuels, leading to a "dirty, expensive
and insecure future", the IEA's World Energy Outlook
Using renewable power and nuclear
energy could help the shift from fossil fuels, the
The greatest future demand for
energy will stem from China and India.
The World Energy Outlook, which
looks at energy trends to 2030, says that the world
faces two related energy threats.
One is inadequate and insecure
energy supplies at affordable prices, and the other
is environmental damage stemming from over-consumption
"The good news is that these [alternative]
policies are very cost-effective," said IEA executive
director Claude Mandil.
"There are different upfront costs
involved, but they are quickly outweighed by savings
in fuel expenditure," he said.
Each extra $1 invested in more
efficient electrical equipment and appliances avoids
more than $2 in power generation, transmission and
distribution infrastructure, the report says.
The argument that switching to
cleaner, more sustainable energy makes economic
sense is being increasingly voiced.
The IEA report comes on the heels
of the Stern report, commissioned by the UK government,
which argued that extreme weather could shrink the
global economy by 20%.
Based on the IEA's alternative
model, the agency forecasts that energy demand could
be cut by 10% by 2030 - an amount equivalent to
China's current annual output.
One upshot of this scenario would
be a 16% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
The IEA is promoting nuclear
energy as part of a 'cleaner' mix
But if nothing is done and energy
demand continues, without underlying changes being
made, primary energy demand would rise by 53% between
2006 and 2030.
The report identifies that underinvestment
in new energy supply as a "real risk".
About half of all investment required
is in developing countries, but "it is far from
certain that this investment will actually occur",
the report said.
By 2010, China will be the world's
largest emitter of CO2, overtaking the US, the report
Such an increase would "amplify
the magnitude of global climate change".
As part of the proposed solution,
the IEA says nuclear power could play a major role
in reducing the reliance on imported gas and mitigate
the impact of CO2 emissions.
"But financing the upfront investment
cost may remain a challenge," stressed Mr Mandil.
In addition, biofuels could play
a significant role in meeting future energy needs
for road transport, helping to diversify energy
and reduce emissions.
conserve the environment.