Last week the International Energy Agency (IEA) released its much-anticipated World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2011. Most notably, it warned that our chances to keep the world to 2°C of warming are fast slipping away. Without further action, the IEA says, by 2017 all CO₂ emissions budgeted for in a 2°C scenario will be “locked-in” by existing power plants, factories and buildings.
The IEA is a consortium of mostly OECD countries, set up in the 1970s in response to the oil shocks as a way to help decrease exposure to Middle East oil supply. Membership of the IEA requires a 30-day reserve of oil to be kept for emergencies. This happened recently when the Libyan oil supply was disrupted.
The IEA has traditionally been very strong in collecting information from its members on oil, coal and gas reserves and projected use. It has expanded its attention to the role of renewable energy in recent years.