Carbon tax gets the big thumbs up

THE Federal Government's carbon tax was endorsed by the head of the International Energy Agency on Monday.

The IEA releases an outlook for the world's energy markets, which was released last week, outlining the risks and opportunities for the world's energy markets to 2035.

The agency's executive director Maria van der Hoeven was in Canberra outlining the future for Australia in the global market on Monday.

She said the agency applauded the government's carbon price as an essential part of reducing energy demand.

But Ms van der Hoeven said the carbon price was only part of what would drive markets over the next 23 years.

She said energy efficiency was the integral ingredient that would ensure the globe could keep demand in line with supply, along with moving towards less fossil fuel based power generation.

But despite the need for renewable technology, she said the future was still bright for Australia's core exports, in coal and coal seam gas.

The agency's latest outlook revealed global demand for power would grow from 12,380Mtoe in 2012 to 16,730Mtoe in 2035, much of it driven by gas and coal.

Ms van der Hoeven said the 60% rise in demand would be driven by China, India and the Middle East, with coal demand up 21% and natural gas up 50%.

She said Australia's role in the global energy trade would grow from being the world' largest coal exporter, to being the world's biggest gas exporter.

Ms van der Hoeven said Australia could be "the next Qatar" in gas exports, all in the next eight years, to 2020.

Her speech was also a resounding endorsement of the government's energy white paper, released two weeks ago, and the nation's role as a leader in carbon capture and storage initiatives.

Topics:  carbon tax gas julia gillard

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