“The time has come to make the hard choices.”

With that sobering advice, the London-based International Energy Agency November 10 released its World Energy Outlook 2009 report just weeks prior to international Copenhagen meetings and policy makers’ “historic opportunity to avert the worst effects of climate change.”

Clearly timed and intended to tighten the screws on those participating in Copenhagen, IEA Executive Director Nabuo Tanaka pointed in an official statement to reasons for both caution and for optimism.

“Caution, because a continuation of current trends in energy use puts the world on track for a rise in temperature of up to 6 degrees C and poses serious threats to global energy security. Optimism, because there are cost-effective solutions to avoid severe climate change while also enhancing energy security – and these are within reach.”

“Containing climate change is possible but will require a profound transformation of the energy sector,” IEA said. Ignoring the 350 parts per million threshold targeted by some advocacy interests, Tanaka said, “Only by mitigation action in all sectors and regions can we turn the 450 Scenario into reality.” He said energy efficiency can make up more than half the total abatement by 2030, with low-carbon energy technologies also an important piece of the puzzle. He said investments of $10.5 trillion are needed by 2030, expenses to be “largely offset” by savings in economic, health, and energy-security benefits.