The International Energy Agency released the 2011 World Energy Outlook yesterday. What is almost as interesting as the report itself is the coverage of it in the MSM.
Here’s a summary of the report by the IEA itself in this video featuring Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency. At 2:49 of this summary Mr. Birol says
“Climate change: a crucial topic for the WEO. Then we look at the infrastructure of the energy sector, and we look at current investments. We see the risk of our energy sector being locked in and we have very little room to maneuver. We try to define it.”
Locked in to a dirty energy future indeed, thanks to the intransigence and greed of the fossil fuel industry. And yet, here is what the coverage of the WEO in the Vancouver Sun looked like yesterday. Entitled “Much-criticized oilsands key to global energy growth, international agency says”, Peter O’Neil writes:
Alberta’s oilsands provide one of the world’s few areas of energy production growth outside the volatile Middle East and North Africa, though environmental concerns could hinder its expansion, the International Energy Agency said in a report Wednesday.
Quite the spin job, about a report that clearly states “the world is at risk of being locked into an ‘insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system’ that will lead to average temperature increases of 3.5 C“. The oil sands are part of that insecure and inefficient system. Even the Calgary Herald, in the heart of oil country, was more honest with its headline for the same article by O’Neil, “Environmental concerns may hinder oilsands: IEA“.
Here’s what Think Progress’s Joe Romm had to say about the report:
IEA’s Bombshell Warning: We’re Headed Toward 11°F Global Warming and “Delaying Action Is a False Economy”:
The International Energy Agency has issued yet another clarion call for urgent action on climate. Their 2011 World Energy Outlook [WEO] release should end once and for all any notion that delay is the rational course for the nation and the world.
The UK Guardian‘s headline captures the urgency:
World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns
If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will ‘lose for ever’ the chance to avoid dangerous climate change
We must start aggressively deploying clean energy now through myriad policies, including a price on carbon. That has been the conclusion of most authoritative studies, of course, including the recent one by California’s independent state science and technology advisory panel (see “Study Confirms Optimal Climate Strategy: Deploy, Deploy, Deploy, Research and Develop, Deploy, Deploy, Deploy“).
Yes, that graphic from the International Energy Agency says that Without further action, by 2017, all CO2 emissions will be “locked-in” by the existing infrastructure. As Romm says, the time has come to “deploy, deploy, deploy”, the same way economies were changed overnight in the face of World War II. Who will lead? Romm says we need a Churchill; perhaps he’s right. But maybe, for this global challenge, it’s the 99% that will provide the momentum for this change. Perhaps we don’t need one Churchill – we need thousands, or millions of Churchills, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther Kings, Ghandis, Wangari Maathais, etc.
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