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IEA Executive Director Says Energy Efficiency Progress Needed to Achieve Energy Security, Climate Change Goals

IEA29 February 2012: Speaking in Mexico City at an International Seminar on the theme “The Future of Energy,” Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA), noted that improving energy efficiency is the quickest and cheapest way to address energy security, as well as environmental and economic challenges.

Noting the important role for the public sector in this regard, van der Hoeven called on governments to enhance energy efficiency by: stimulating investment; accelerating implementation through national energy efficiency strategies; and monitoring progress, enforcement and evaluation. Highlighting that “energy is at the heart of the climate change,” she lamented that without further action, by 2017 all carbon dioxide emissions permitted in the 450 Scenario will be “locked-in” by existing power plants, factories, and buildings.

She also drew attention to the fact that a majority of energy subsidies go to fossil fuels, with only a small percentage of the total going towards renewable energy production. Highlighting that changing oil import needs have raised concerns about future oil security, she underscored the largely untapped global natural gas potential. Calling it a “Golden Age of Gas,” she posited that natural gas can enhance security of supply, with global resources exceeding 250 years of current production.

Speaking on Mexico in the global energy context, she noted the IAE's projection that “Mexico's oil production will decline in the medium term, but then to once again grow in line with the country's resource potential.” She also said that Mexico could become an “avant-garde player” in renewable energy, particularly in geothermal, solar and wind energy. [IEA Press Release] [IEA Executive Director Speech]