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IEA Report: World Can Halve Expected Growth in Oil and Power Consumption by 2050

More needs to be done with the fuel intensity of light-duty vehicles.

Applying clean and more efficient technologies at hand or under development could halve the expected growth in both oil and electricity demand and return CO2 emissions to today’s levels by 2050, according to a new publication by the International Energy Agency.

IEA Executive Director Claude Mandil presented the key findings of Energy Technology Perspectives, which the IEA produced as a partial response to a call from G8 leaders at their Summit in Gleneagles in July 2005 for the IEA to advise on alternative scenarios and strategies aimed at a “clean, clever and competitive energy future.”

Technologies can make a difference. A sustainable energy future is possible, but only if we act urgently and decisively to promote, develop and deploy a full mix of energy technologies, including improved energy efficiency, CO2 capture and storage (CCS), renewables and—where acceptable—nuclear energy. We have the means, now we need the will.

—Claude Mandil

The IEA publication takes a detailed look at status and prospects for key energy technologies in power generation, buildings, industry and transport. It puts forward strategies for attaining scenarios unattainable under current trends.

Improved energy efficiency is an indispensable component of any policy mix, and it is available immediately. Governments, in both OECD and non-OECD countries, must be willing to implement measures that encourage the investment in energy-efficient technologies.

—Claude Mandil

The study identifies the capture and storage of CO2 emitted from power-generation or industrial processes as a key technology, and recommends making early demonstration of CCS in full-scale power plants a high priority.



As a North-American that chart is a terrible embarasment. How are we going to separate our idiots from their SUV's and BFTs (Big F(*^&%# Trucks). If only we could convince the Americans to raise their gas taxes. Even if they only used the money to buy back the guzzlers and squish em we'd be ahead.


Neil: For many poor people, owning a car is a necessity. Raising gas taxes beyond what is needed to pay for roads is regressive. There are a lot of small and medium-sized towns out there that have no public tranportation.

The time to raise gas taxes--which I am not advocating, mind you--would have been in the 90s when it was far cheaper than today and thus a little easier to swallow. Even the Democrats are on a lower-gas-prices platform. Telling your voters you're going to raise prices even further now would be political suicide.


Pay now or pay later. I say a 3 dollar a gallon gas tax is just what we need. We should take the steps now, no matter how painful, to rein in our energy guzzling habits. It's just not sustainable in the long run.

Roger Pham

You both have good points.
The solution is incredible simple!!! Do not raise gas tax now! Just announce a time-table for gradually raising gas tax way into the future, so that the consumers suffer nothing now, but will plan on their next vehicular purchase to get more fuel-efficient car or truck. Announce the plan far and wide, on the radio, on TV, on bill board, on newspaper etc...
Let the people know that this kind of advanced warning will encourage more purchase of efficient vehicles, so that, by the time the gas tax will be gradually raised, fuel consumption will have been curtailed, causing a drop in wholesale gas price, and so, even with higher gas tax, gasoline will still be affordable, may be even less expensive than now that we are being price gouged by Big Oil for our sins of driving SUV's and Urban Sprawl.
The gov. should also have plan to stabilize retail gas price at today's level by instituting additional compensating gas tax should gas price drop due to conservational effort.
All the above will remain a pipe dream for as long as Big Oil will remain in control of our (USA) government.


Roger: Oil prices are set by commodities traders, not by Big Oil. We're not being "gouged". If there's anything screwy happening in the oil markets, it's from speculators and hedge funds--which to my mind have actually been beneficial. The past few years we've thrown ourselves into alternative energy research and production.

Read this article from Biodiesel Magazine.

I want as little government interference in the market as possible. If we must encourage alternative energy, doing so with tax credits to make biofuels cheaper is better than increasing taxes on gasoline or diesel. We've done this already, and the result is biodiesel is now cost-competetive with petrodiesel at current prices. Beyond that, though, alt energy has to stand on its own economnic legs.

tony chilling

Americans expect our leaders to lead.
We need a leader to use the bully pulpit of their Office
to plot a course out of the mess we are in now with oil:
1)Air quality
2)global warming
3)flushing tax dollars down the rat hole of war.
4)oil revenue funding terrorism through oil producing Arab countries.

Yes, our leaders must put their contorted, scornful faces up to the TV camera lens and call every American a sinner, and count the ways we have sinned....
Then paint the picture to the path of our redemption.
Ah!....The Way.

king Hubert

don't worry about pushing up the tax on gas to increase the amount of high mpg cars or suvs sold ect. the price will continue to rise even faster in the future, anyone who says todays high price is down to traders, price gougers, lack of refinery capacity in the US or any other bullshit reason. You are all wrong the reason for high prices is simple oil is running out,
every oil producer is pumping at their max and can not increase production and when demand rises faster than suply you get a price rise i wish some one would tell this simple truth to the american people
but dont take it from me just do a google search on the oil peak

Bill Young

I would posit a carbon tax rather than a gas tax. As suggested above, it should start low and be relentless. (I would suggest $5/ton of carbon to be emitted and increase $1/year for 30 years. Transportation fuel should be about 3 times the basic carbon tax. $5/ton is approximately 2 cents/gal on gas.)

A carbon tax is highly regressive. (It taxes the poor more severely.) Therefore, I suggest the revenue generated by equally divided between all US citizens and legal residents.

A carbon tax would speak to the two groups that make the dominant decisions on US carbon dioxide emissions: the new car buyers and the electric utility company executives.


This is a crisis. We should ensure that gas rises through taxes to at least $10 per gallon, but give people some time to adjust. Over the long run, people have choices. I live in a small town without public transportation and I would be significantly impacted. But my impact will be lessened somewhat by the fact that I have planned ahead by buying a Prius.

Some people will have to adjust their living patterns. But this will eventually happen regardless of whether we institute a tax. Just waiting for peak oil to work its magic may result in a situation where people do not have time to adjust.

As far as government interference goes, if the government subsidizes a technology by providing a tax credit or otherwise, that's still interference. If you don't want interference, be consistent. Eliminate all subsidies and government funded research for all fuels.

The objection that this would hurt the poor is a non issue. Transfer part of the proceeds of this tax to the poor. Then they will have the option of making decisions that will actually increase their disposable income. Better yet, provide every one gas coupons which can be bought or sold in the open market. Those who find a way to use less gas can profit from the sale of their excess coupons. Those who choose to consume beyond their coupon allotment will just have to pay the piper.

Joseph Willemssen

Roger: Oil prices are set by commodities traders, not by Big Oil.

Riiiiight. And Enron was merely responding to market forces,

I want as little government interference in the market as possible.

Unfortunately, that has never been the case nor will ever be the case. Energy markets probably have more government intervention than pretty much anything -- from state-owned resources, countless subsidies, tax breaks, military intervention, petroleum reserves, PUCs, etc.

Harvey D.

Two things stick out very clearly.

(1) Americans and Canadians are the No. 1 culprits (highest liter/Km).
(2) We have the lowest gas taxes in all the industrial countries.

The message seems to be easy to read. We use the highest mpg vehicles producing the most GHG because of cheap gas and fuel.

A progressive-adjustable long term carbon tax on gas and diesel fuel may not be politically correct but is the best way to pass the message to car/truck/bus owners. This tax could start at $0.01/gal/month and gradually progress during 5 years and/or until gas/fuel taxes have reached large industrial nations average.

Concurrently, a Federal progressive yearly carbon (or total GHG) vehicle registration fee (based on tons of carbon per year created)should be imposed. Vehicles with less than 3 ton/year equivalent could be exempt and those above 5 ton/year should pay much more. This too should be imposed progressively over 5+ years.

Low income persons could get a tax credit to partly compensate the added carbon tax and increased registration fees.

Part of the revenues from these new taxes should be used to promote cleaner alternative fuel such as cellulosic butanol and the purchase of more efficient vehicles such as Hybrids and PHEV, wind turbines and solar panels.


Cervus, "Beyond that, though, alt energy has to stand on its own economnic legs."

The market with a few tax breaks will not solve global warming. Where is the incentive to stop CO2 emissions? Coal prices are not going to increase because sea levels rise or because crop lands become desert.

Will tax breaks stop global deforestation? WIll tax breaks stop the greatest extinction event since the end of the dinosaurs?

The market is clearly not going to be enough. I think sometimes we need to use our intelligence a little bit more. Don't get me wrong, I am not a communist. However we can have a much better managed capitalist system than we have - at least in the US.


People and Bacteria

If we want to show that we're actually more intelligent we're going to have to stop eating, breading and polluting our way into a major die-off. I don't think the mindless forces of the free market are going to solve a problem that requires a little thinking. A thoughtfull bit of proding (a slowly increasing carbon tax) might help.

Rafael Seidl

I agree with most of the above posters. If you want people to stop making the US dependent on Arab oil and producing CO2, you've got to make that behavior a lot more expensive. This needs to happen gradually, predictably and for all intents and purposes, permanently. Carrots alone are not enough, you need sticks to eliminate the free riders.

I like the idea of raising US fuel taxes by $0.02 per month for 10 years and disbursing the proceeds by way of flat rate income tax credits. The value of the credit is determined a posteriori, though a range estimate could be given to help consumers plan ahead. In the first couple of years this does not yet amount to a hill of beans, so it matters little that the benefits accrue mostly to affluent early adopters of relatively high MPG vehicles. Later on, poorer segements of the population will (have to) switch to smaller, really high MPG cars that are still affordable.

All tax breaks and subsidies to encourage specific fuel or powertrain technologies should either be formulated such that they will automatically run out or, simply phased out. The US hybrid tax credit has built-in limit, as does Germany's low tax rate for CNG. Subsidies and protectionist tariffs for the farm industry - which now includes biofuels - are open-ended on either side of the Atlantic, which is a bad idea. On this particular point, I agree with Cervus.

Personally, I would prefer a model in which the creation of environmental damage (e.g. CO2 eq. emitted, radioactive waste produced or views cluttered) is taxed while the reversal of environmental damage (e.g. CO2 eq. capture) gets a tax break. The difference should be sufficient to make biofuels and biosequestration of CO2 from coal competitive over the alternatives.


"Low income persons could get a tax credit"

No thank you. Billions of dollars lost to fraud through welfare style systems RIGHT NOW. We don't need anymore of that.

Lower income households may not be able to buy a new car...ever notice the least expensive vehicles tend to have the best fuel economy?

I'd rather give every Low income person the following options:

Low cost housing in expensive real estate areas set to standards and inspected monthly (random units) to insure the living conditions are kept up. This can help to keep them from having to commute from 30 miles away.

Free transit passes. Add federal funding for all mass transit projects in all states. This funding would come from the excess gas taxes.


I suspect that any slow implementation carbon tax would be income neutral if it does the job properly. The main thing is to have it implement fast enough to save our butts but not so quickly that we can't adjust.

tom deplume

In the US taxation is not the way encourage conservation. Only rationing together with an Internet based coupon trading system will work. The total amount of petroleum used can be reduced through gradually declining oil import quotas. My goal would be the elimination of oil imports within 3 years. Business interests will see that it's either conserve or produce alternatives if economic growth is to occur. Individuals will find ways of cutting car use through ride sharing and better shopping trip planning. Helping the poor cope has not been seen as important as helping corporations cope for a long time in America so why bother suggesting how to do it?


Sure, the cheapest cars generally get the best gas mileage, but I'm guessing that most of the people who would qualify for these tax rebates would probably have used cars, where I don't know if you can make that assumption. More of the issue is that the poor have been pushed out of the areas they work in and are forced to drive long distances to get to their jobs. They often have little other option, whereas the better-off are able to live in mixed-use areas (or afford to drive regardless)

Mark R. W. Jr.

"Punishment" gas taxes on US motorists will not work and will never pass.

We're better off raising CAFE standards and continuing to improve alternative fuels technology like ethanol, biodiesel and plug-in electric/electric-hybrid vehicles.

Roger Pham

Well, Mark R.W., with gradually increasing gas tax, it won't be a punishment, but more like a salvation. People will buy higher mpg cars, and the CAFE standard will automatically rise. They will be paying less for fuel due to more fuel-efficient cars and even modest lowering of fuel price due to slackening demand, inspite of higher taxation. Alternative fuels will take off, too, now that they will be more competitive to gasoline.
In life, do one main thing right, and the rest will fall in line.

Bill Young


Nuclear power already pays for its "environmental damage". A fee of $.001/kwh is collected on nuc power for government waste fuel disposal. This pile of money has accumulated to several $billion while the feds have a Keystone Cops exercise at Yucca Mountain. The point is, however, commerical nuclear power has fully covered its waste disposal costs.

The figures I have seen (see epri.com) show that coal burning with 90% carbon dioxide sequestration is not competitive with nuclear power if there is no benefit to the sequester beyond environmental. (i.e. if the CO2 injection restarts an exhausted oil or gas field it changes the economics)

Joseph Willemssen

The point is, however, commerical nuclear power has fully covered its waste disposal costs.

Please. The time periods until that waste is safe is beyond our ability to even grasp, much less "fully cover".


You notice how both canada and america have the higher numbers... could it be more about them ignoring country to country traffic in europe then anything else? I wonder what the numbers would look like if all the trucks in europe even the ones going from one end to the other and outside and in were combined.

Robert McLeod

One of the best ways to improve fleet mileage that I know of is the feebate:


It's _not_ regressive.

Tony Chilling

The American people will not allow higher gas taxes to be imposed!
Heck, even the Democrats are talking about keeping gas prices low!
This forum has presented many tax ideas, which is good, but the American people, and its leaders, by promising cheap gas, has made increasing the gas tax another "third rail of politics".
As stated in a previous post, The attitude of the American people must be changed before the politicans get enough courage to do it.

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