June 8, 2008
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has called upon humanity to invest $ 45 000 billion in the coming four decades in alternative energies and halve global CO2 emissions by 2050. The bulk of that huge investment will have to take place in emerging countries, in particular China, India and Russia. It is there that the energy demand will continue to rise due to continued economic growth.
This timely call, three weeks ahead of the G 8 meeting in Hokkaida , would be much more effective if IEA membership covered all major energy consuming countries. This is unfortunately not the case. The IEA was established 1974, in the wake of the first oil crisis. It was logical, at that time, to restrict membership to OECD countries, which then accounted for essentially all of the world`s oil consumption.
Almost 40 years later the world has dramatically changed.
Today, the challenge is not so much a short-term oil disruption but the sustainable long-term energy supply for nine billion people in 2050. China, India and Russia will soon account for almost 40 percent of global energy consumption. No effective climate policy will be possible without their full-fledged commitment. If the IEA wants to play a leading role in securing the world`s energy supply, it cannot do without these three vital players. In a first stage, it should fully associate them in its ongoing work; in a second stage, it should offer full membership.
Presently this is legally impossible, as membership is restricted to OECD countries. But nothing prevents the OECD from turning the IEA into a separate institution with a membership that may no longer fully coincide with OECD membership.Author : Eberhard Rhein