World energy supply 'heading for crisis'

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THE world's energy supply is heading for crisis, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned yesterday, predicting "skyrocketing prices or more frequent blackouts" unless urgent action was taken.

The IEA, an energy policy adviser for its 26 member countries including the UK and US, which was established during the oil crisis of 1973-1974, called on governments to build more nuclear power stations to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and also take steps to reduce the growth in demand for energy. It predicted that global energy needs will surge by 53 per cent over the next 25 years and that crude oil prices could exceed $100 a barrel by 2030.

China is expected to overtake the US as the world's biggest emitter of before 2010, the Paris-based agency added in its 2006 World Energy Outlook.

Claude Mandil, the IEA executive director, said at the report's launch in London yesterday: "We are on course for an energy system that will evolve from crisis to crisis. That may mean skyrocketing prices, or more frequent blackouts.

"On current trends, we are on course for a dirty, expensive and unsustainable energy future. In response, urgent government action is required. The key word is urgent."

The report drove home the nuclear message. "The economics have moved in nuclear power's favour," it said.