The International Energy Agency claims in its World Energy Outlook that it is now technically possible for the United States to become energy independent by 2020. But that’s not their primary message. IEA is also warning that any such energy independence would be short lived, and that message has been lost on most analysts.
Based in Paris, the IEA is an intergovernmental organization which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries, including the United States. It is not to be confused with the Energy Information Administration, which is a different organization nestled within the U.S. Department of Energy. But both organizations have credibility, and both provide analysts with primary sources of information about energy, particularly about consumption data.
Nevertheless, forecasts from either organization have to be taken with a grain of salt, and they usually come with a long list of assumptions. It’s no different with IEA’s World Energy Outlook and its forecasts of the possibility of U.S. energy independence. Its assumptions, when examined together, come with a high likelihood of “false positives.” In fact, the IEA states it believes it is unlikely that the U.S. will actually reach complete energy independence.
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