Dr Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency

The context for the 2008 WEO includes: soaring energy prices to mid-2008, followed by a collapse; the financial crisis and economic slowdown; the possibility that economic worries will divert attention from strategic energy-security and environmental challenges; a possible supply-crunch once the economy recovers; and questions over what will come out of the COP-15 in Copenhagen. Each of these issues is discussed in respect to possible impacts for global energy demand and supply, set out through the IEA’s Reference Scenario and the climate policy scenarios (550 and 450). Details are provided on world primary energy demand, including the role of coal, oil, gas and electricity, and the prospects for oil and gas supplies. The summary suggests that: current energy trends are unsustainable —socially, environmentally, economically; oil will remain the leading energy source but the era of cheap oil is over and the oil market is undergoing major and lasting structural change; energy and geopolitics will be increasingly interconnected; the world’s energy system need to be decarbonised; and the financial crisis can plant the seeds for an “energy investment crisis”.

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