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IEA Executive Director Calls for Stronger Energy Policies

8 March 2012: The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Maria van der Hoeven, has warned that the global economic crisis is diverting attention away from energy policy.

In an article titled "Energy Security: looking towards uncertainty," Van der Hoeven laments that this could discourage or delay near-term investments necessary for meeting rising energy demand and climate change mitigation goals over the medium and longer term. She also underscores that carbon pricing and new technologies would be crucial to the promotion of energy efficiency. She notes that to stay on the 2° C path, all “subsequent energy investments would have to be carbon neutral.”

Commenting on what she terms the “Golden Age of Gas,” she warns that the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) may fall this year, a situation that would further tighten the market. She notes the important potential of shale gas in the short term for the US, but stresses that environmental concerns could derail expansion. She also underscores that carbon pricing and new technologies would be crucial to the promotion of energy efficiency.

She further states that European energy markets would need to contend with the repercussions of the German nuclear moratorium imposed after Fukushima, especially noting the limitations on power generation imposed by a cold, windless winter. She notes that this burden would most likely be pushed onto the consumers who would have to pay higher power bills. [IEA Article]