The IEA forecasts both consumption of and emissions from fossil fuels growing at a rapid pace over the next 25 years. In what they call a "business-as-usual scenario", fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions are expected to increase by 60% by 2030.

 

However, the substantial growth in energy consumption will be limited to the most industrialised, richer nations, the IAE predicts.

 

The energy body also predicted that "1.4 billion people would still have no access to electricity in 2030". 

 

The IEA admitted that its members, the major oil consuming nations, needed to "curb our growing energy import dependence as world reserves narrow to fewer sources". They also noted that desire to "reduce the environmental impact of the world's growing reliance on fossil fuels."

 

In order to meet this prospective booming consumption increase, the IEA invited energy ministers of non-member states to join discussions.

 

Chinese Deputy Energy Minister Zhang Xiaoqiang attended as did Fernando Elizondo of Mexico, plus ministers from new European Union (EU) member states Poland and Slovakia.

 

Phenomenal tasks

 

The fiscal cost of meeting this demand growth looks set to be a phenomenal task.

 

The IEA is urging energy data
transparency from oil producers

"A challenge confronting producers and consumers alike is the need to strengthen the flow of capital to the energy sector. [The] IEA estimates that $16 trillion in investment will be needed in the energy sector by 2030."

 

At those figures, annual investment in energy would need to be $640 billion (at 2005 levels) each and every year for a quarter century, which is seven or eight times the norm.

 

"We are witnessing under investment in power generation and transmission and up and down stream, along the oil and gas value chains," the IAE said.

 

Data transparency

 

In line with other organisations and analysts, the IEA also called on producer nations to enter into agreements on "improved transparency" over oil and gas reserves. 

 

The IEA asked for a "more stable and transparent framework to ensure adequate and timely investment" and called on "governments worldwide to adopt this commitment as their own".

 

The meeting ended with no concrete actions agreed to by ministers. Instead, the IEA said it would continue "a focus" on data transparency. It would try "encouraging" investment and attempt "improved engagement with key non-member countries".

 

"In order to bridge the gap between what is happening and what needs to be done, the IEA will help to develop strategies aiming at a clean, clever and competitive energy future," it said.