A new phase in IEA work with China and India

“As China and India become major players in global energy markets, it makes sense to share views with them on our common energy challenges,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), today in Paris. “For the first time ever, the 27 member countries of the IEA have invited high-level Chinese and Indian delegations to participate in Committee Week” – several days focusing on key energy issues including emergency response preparedness, the outlook for oil, gas and coal markets, energy technology collaboration and energy efficiency measures. “We hope that this interaction will identify further opportunities for co-operation,” added Mr. Tanaka.

The week’s unprecedented activities included the convening of key IEA committees on emergency preparedness, oil markets, long-term policy co-ordination, energy research and technology, as well as the IEA Governing Board. A strong delegation from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and national oil companies represented China at the IEA. The Indian delegation included senior officials from the Ministry of Power, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and the NTPC (formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation). Representatives from all IEA member countries also participated.

“The presence of delegates from China and India around the table in our discussions this week underscores our mutual commitment to continue to work together and to find ways to ensure clean, reliable affordable energy for the future. This is a global challenge that we must face and overcome together,” said Mr. Tanaka.

The IEA has long recognised the accelerating globalisation of energy markets and the growing importance of rapidly developing economies in the shaping of global markets, energy security and environmental sustainability. This week has marked a step change in the IEA relationship with China and India, encouraging their greater direct involvement in the work of its main policy committees. Much co-operation has occurred with China and India in improving energy data collection, energy efficiency, energy market reform policies, technology, and the development of emergency preparedness and response systems. But the magnitude of the challenges calls for greater effort.

The IEA and China will reinforce their work on emergency planning and crisis management during an IEA Emergency Response Exercise (ERE) which will take place next June in Paris. It is designed to prepare IEA member countries for any oil supply disruption, but its lessons are transferable to countries developing their own emergency response capability – especially China and India. The IEA hosted senior Chinese statisticians in late 2007 to prepare a plan of co-operation on energy statistics, including energy efficiency indicator work, to lay the foundations for better informed energy policy-making. Recently, Chinese energy researchers met with their IEA member counterparts – a meeting that significantly increased direct collaboration in energy research, development, demonstration and deployment in fields such as renewables, clean coal and demand-side management. A similar step is envisaged with Indian researchers in April of next year. To meet the challenge of climate change, China and India are invited to join the IEA in new work on financing low-carbon technologies in emerging economies.

The 2007 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) focuses on China and India, identifying them as the world’s fastest-growing energy markets, and underscores the importance of sharing IEA experiences with them and learning from theirs. “China and India are simply too important to ignore,” observed Mr. Tanaka. “It is my hope that the discussions during the past days will be a significant impetus for enhanced engagement with China and India”.