International Energy Agency predicts grim future

Unless the industrialized world gets off its ass and starts weaning itself from oil, the future holds sky-high energy prices, a more than 50 percent rise in greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 25 years, and near-total dependence on a small cabal of Middle Eastern countries. This grim portent comes not from peak-oil doomsayers but the International Energy Agency, which represents the consensus of mainstream developed-world experts. The IEA’s just-released “World Energy Outlook” warns that after decades of under-investment in oil-production and refinery capacity, oil prices are almost certain to rise and stay high. Even if the countries that produce the lion’s share of the world’s oil invest heavily, says IEA economist Fatih Birol, “we are ending up with 95 percent of the world relying for its economic well-being on decisions made by five or six countries in the Middle East.” This, she says, “is not a sustainable energy future.” Says IEA’s William Ramsay, “We would be quite happy to see our reference scenario made irrelevant by good policy decisions.” Us too.