But North American dominance in oil production may be short-lived. The IEA predicts that Saudi Arabia likely will reclaim its spot as the top oil-producing nation by about the middle of the next decade. Output from non-OPEC members will rise over the next few years, peaking at about 53 million barrels per day in 2015. In 2011, non-OPEC production was at about 49 million barrels per day. It will begin to fall by the mid-2020s and dip to less than 50 million by about 2035.
OPEC members are expected to raise their own oil-production levels by about 8 percent from 2020 to 2035, the study says.
Although the report predicts seismic shifts in global markets, it also confirms that fuels such as coal will remain irreplaceable for at least the next two decades. China’s and India’s demand for coal will continue to grow throughout the next decade, with India set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s second-largest user of coal by 2025.
Mr. Obama’s promise to continue investing taxpayer money into “green” technologies — wind, solar, biofuels and others — also appears to be part of a global trend.
Governments around the world subsidized renewable energy to the tune of about $88 billion last year. By 2035, government support for those fuels is expected to skyrocket to nearly $240 billion, the IEA report says.
The study also projects that, by 2035, renewable sources of energy will generate nearly one-third of total electricity output worldwide. Within just four years, the IEA projects, renewable energy, led by solar power, will eclipse natural gas and become the second-largest source of power generation, trailing only coal.
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Ben Wolfgang is a national reporter for The Washington Times. Before coming to the Times, he spent four years as a political reporter in Pennsylvania. His focus is on education and science policy. Ben lives in southeast D.C. and has played guitar in several bands while still in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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