The International Energy Agency said in a recently published report that world energy demand and greenhouse gas carbon emissions will both grow sharply over the next 20 years, unless major policy changes are enacted by national governments.

The IEA issued a report indicating the path that future energy demand and supply would take if climate commitments made in the Kyoto Protocol were not instituted. Without the required policy changes, the IEA estimates that energy demand will grow 65 per cent between 1995 and 2020, and carbon emissions by 70 per cent. Two thirds of the increase could occur in China and developing countries.

Agency projections show that fossil fuels are expected to meet 95 per cent of additional global demand from 1995 to 2020, with only marginal changes in the mix of oil, natural gas and coal usage. Output from nuclear will remain stable to 2020, as the commissioning of new facilities broadly matches plant retirements. Hydropower growth will be limited by the lack of good sites and environmental considerations. Generation from renewable sources is growing rapidly, but from a tiny base. IEA estimates that by 2020, on current trends, it will still represent less than 1 per cent of generation capacity.