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U.S. to become world's largest oil producer by 2020, report says

The International Energy Agency report also predicts that the U.S. will be a net exporter of oil around 2030 and nearly self-sufficient in energy by 2035.

November 13, 2012|By Ronald D. White and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

The IEA's Van der Hoeven noted that "the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency." Fuel efficiency, for instance, has improved in the transportation sector. The clean energy industry has seen an influx of solar and wind efforts.

Fossil fuels, which enjoyed a 30% jump in subsidies last year to $523 billion worldwide, will continue to surpass renewable energy sources, according to the IEA. But so-called green power will become the world's second-largest form of electricity generation within three years and will threaten coal's supremacy by 2035.

That progression, however, "hinges critically on continued subsidies" for wind, solar and biofuel technologies, which last year amounted to about $88 billion and needs to reach $4.8 trillion through 2035 to approach coal's dominance, the IEA report said.

Even then, "the world is still failing to put the global energy system onto a more sustainable path," according to the report.

Global energy demand will boom by 2035, rising to 99.7 million barrels a day from 87.4 million last year, the report said. China's demand will rise 60% over the period; India's will more than double. Demand in developed countries will increase just 3%, with the desire for oil and coal losing share in the overall energy mix.

Energy production, the report said, will continue to drain the world's water resources — it already accounts for 15% of total water use.

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