The global demand for oil could peak within the next 25 years if countries around the world pursue low carbon growth policies, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday.
Nobuo Tanaka said at the Energy Technology Perspective 2010 gathering in Seoul that innovative ways to cut back on energy use and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are making headway and called on countries to make timely investments that can push forward progress made to improve efficiency.
The executive director of the Paris-based organization said that such investments should go toward improving energy efficiency in the immediate future while being diverted to renewable energy, nuclear power generation,and carbon capture and storage technologies in the medium to long run.
"If such measures are taken, global oil demand would plateau around 2030-2035, and this would mean less pressure on prices and reduced import dependency for many countries," the official said.
He outlined that under the IEA's recent "blue scenario" plan, transition to a low-carbon economy will reduce demand for oil, gas and coal in 2050 compared to today, although fossil fuels will still account for a large percentage of energy used overall.
"Even with low-carbon growth, fossil fuel can still account for 46 percent of primary energy demand in 2050, meaning that we still need significant investment in these fields," he said.
The official, meanwhile, warned that under a "baseline scenario" where no remedial actions are taken to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, worldwide CO2 emissions could reach 57 billion tons -- twice as large as the current level - in 2050.
This would place serious pressure on the environment and cause global warming, he said.
In response to calls for more technology innovation, Vice Knowledge Economy Minister Kim Young-hak said Seoul is firmly committed to the development of ways to reduce fossil fuel use, adding that such a move is key to the "green growth" strategy being followed by the Lee Myung-bak administration.
He stressed that South Korea wants to become a leader in the so-called green race and is focused in pouring research and development resources into the sector and in the creation of a viable energy conservation market.