IEA says energy outlook gloomiest ever

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PARIS, Nov 7 (Reuters) The International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook unveiled on Wednesday is its bleakest to date, the author told Reuters in an interview.

Rich countries have failed to take concrete action to increase energy security and slow down climate change, said Fatih Birol, also the IEA's chief economist.

''This is the book that provides the most pessimistic outlook,'' he said.

''In none of the OECD countries, can I say the effort is satisfactory to change the trends we are in. This is the reason we have come up with pessimistic views,'' Birol added.

He urged developed countries to find urgent ways to ease oil demand growth, improve energy efficiency and provide an international framework to address climate change.

''We believe that we are not running out of energy resources, we have enough money but what we are running out of is time.'' The Paris-based agency that acts as energy adviser to 26 industrialised countries said in the outlook that global energy demand was likely to rise by 50 percent between now and 2030, with China and India accounting for a hefty 45 percent of this increase.

''The more we sit back and watch the game, the less time we have to fix the problem,'' Birol said.

He also warned against rich nations putting the blame for the drastic projected increase in global energy demand on China and India and said the agency did not believe the two fast-growing economies should be condemned.

''To believe China and India are to blame is wrong because these countries have the right to grow,'' Birol said. ''In India today more than 400 million people have no access to electricity.'' He said that instead of blaming them, developed nations should find ways to help them avoid repeating the same mistakes made by industrialised nations.

''China and India are making a lot of efforts and OECD countries should play a leadership role to those countries.'' He said China should use energy more efficiently, make more use of renewable energy as well as nuclear power.

''For example if China's efficiency standards matched the European ones for refrigerators and air conditioning, China would by 2015 save electricity equivalent to China's Three Gorges damn,'' he said.

Birol also called for oil stocks of Chinese, Indian and IEA countries to be brought together to provide an efficient safety net in case of a crisis.

''We hope this book will pave the way for us to work more closely and step up our cooperation efforts with China and India with perhaps the ultimate call of making them members,'' he said.

REUTERS BJR DS1636

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