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Warnings from the IEA: Oil Price Increase and Irreversible Global Climate Change

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted November 10, 2011

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns of a possible increase in oil prices and of a possible climate crisis in its World Economic Outlook report released yesterday.

We could soon see oil prices shoot to a high of $150 per barrel if there is not enough investment in production.

The Telegraph says we could see this occur if investments in the Middle East and North Africa fall even a third short of the $100 billion needed annually before 2015.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, says “Oil prices by 2015 may go to $150 in real terms and $176 in nominal terms [if investment is too low],” reports The Telegraph.

Oil prices, already at a high cost, are stifling the economic growth of the world.

“In 2011, $102 is the average price through to today, which means the global economic recovery is at risk,” said Birol according to The Telegraph. “We are in the danger zone for the global economy at current levels.”

As countries all over build more fossil-fuelled power stations it is becoming increasingly harder for global warming to stay at safe levels. Chances of stopping dangerous climate change will be lost if changes aren’t made.

The IEA warns that anything built that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades, and this effect will ultimately lead to irreversible climate change if a drastic change is not made within the next five years. The world’s existing energy infrastructure –power plants, factories, etc.– are already producing 80 percent of the total “carbon budget”.

Below is a visual representation, provided by The Guardian, of the world’s energy demand and carbon emissions:


By 2017, if no changes are implemented, the limit for carbon emissions will be “locked in” by already -xisting energy infrastructure,leading to a permanent increase in climate change. says there is the possibility of a 3.5-Fahrenheit degree increase in global temperature.

“The door is closing,” Birol said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

The IEA says they expect the global energy use to increase by 36 percent by 2035. It’s no surprise that China will account for the majority of this increase.

If China, as well as other emerging economies, continues to grow and increase energy consumption we could one day see global temperatures increase as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit, according to

That’s all for now,


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