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23 September 2010

Q & A with Prof. Josef Spitzer, Joanneum Research Austria & Chairman of IEA Bioenergy Implementing A


Q: What are the big issues for the Future of Energy at the moment?

A: While we have plenty of fossil reserves (albeit, at increasing production cost), the climate-related CO2 emission limitations are forcing us to cut fossil fuel consumption: A reduction to some 20% of today’s value by the end of this century while we experience a continuing increase of total energy demand. This means that 80% of today’s consumption plus the demand increase have to be covered by non-carbon energy sources.

Q: How do you think we can make a difference?

A: Since most of the candidate non-carbon energy sources (renewables, nuclear) today are more expensive than conventional sources, market mechanisms will not bring about the required change. Unless we have a drastic increase of fossil fuel market prices (300 – 500 US$/barrel), taxation of fossil fuels is the only way to establish economic competitiveness, which as the prerequisite for a market driven transition to a non-carbon energy system. Subsidizing non-carbon energy sources with tax money will not do the job, since it is not a “market instrument” and the volume required would by far exceed public budgets. 

Q: Why are you attending EFEF?

A: To hear other people’s opinion on 1. and 2. above and to present some details on the bioenergy option in my Session.

Hear Josef Spitzer speak at the European Future Energy Forum on 20 October - www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com/programme