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The World Needs More Energy, and the Developing Countries, Much More

May 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its “World Energy Investment 2019” report, confirms the statements of EIR and others, that the world is experiencing an energy drought, a critical part of its great deficit of basic economic infrastructure. While the 130-page report—released May 14, covering both “oil and gas” and electric “power” sectors—put the focus on the collapse of investment in “renewables” demanded by the “Paris protocol,” a close reading shows the lack of investment in the whole sector, and worldwide. In addition, the report details an astonishing energy divide, with the developed countries getting 85% of global energy investment, while the majority of humanity is left with just 15%.

World energy investment (effectively reflecting useable supply) essentially plateaued in 2018, showing no increase from the previous year, while global demand “grew at its fastest pace this decade.” After declining for the last three years, investment stabilized at $1.8 trillion, with power investments at $775 billion. “Expenditures in renewable energy declined,” not for lack of trying, but mostly because of cost reductions. “Nuclear power investment edged up as new grid-connected plants in 2018 grew threefold, 80% of them in China.”

Although it is not emphasized, one graph (page 23) stands out as to its implications. Graphing the investment dollars with the population dollars (income levels), the IEA shows that 42% of the energy investment dollars went to countries with 16% of the population, while 45% of the world’s population (including India) saw only 14% of global investment dollars. Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has actually declined by 15%, from a decrease in “fuel supply.” The middle sector (including China), with 41% of the world’s population, received 44% of global investment money.

Reflecting a growing trend in the industry, “nuclear” power is included in the report under the “renewables” sections. In line with that, is a report in World Nuclear News, of a “declaration” calling for nuclear power to be addressed at the upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial 2019, to be held in Vancouver May 28. Signed by 40 “associations” representing 80,000 workers in the industry, the two-page document was presented May 14 to the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP). While fully accepting the “decarbonization” fiction concerning climate change, they nonetheless demand that nuclear energy have a seat at the table, calling for a “doubling public investment in nuclear-related R&D and innovation within the next five years.”

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