- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

PARIS (AP) - The chief economist for the International Energy Agency says the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change unless governments cut fossil fuel subsidies and improve energy efficiency.

Fatih Birol says that even though governments the world over have put increasing energy efficiency at the top their to-do lists, efficiency has worsened for two years in a row.

Birol warned such backslides have real consequences: If the status quo continues until 2017, the world will lose the chance to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), as international negotiators have agreed.

Birol was commenting on the findings released by the IEA on Wednesday in its annual World Energy Outlook.