Sunday, April 08, 2018

IEA Accused of Undermining Global Shift from Fossil Fuels

Gas fires at an oil refinery glows in Saudi Arabia. Investment projections by the International Energy Agency remain massively skewed towards oil and gas, a new report claims. (Photograph Credit: Thomas J. Abercrombie/National Geographic/Getty Images)) Click to Enlarge.
The global shift from fossil fuels to renewables is being undermined by the very organisation that ought to be leading the charge, according to a scathing new critique of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Governments across the world rely on IEA projections to set energy policies, but the agency’s figures – which are influenced by the oil industry – are pushing them off track to reach the targets of the Paris climate agreement, says the report.

The study, released on Thursday by research and advocacy NGO Oil Change International, claims the agency’s investment projections remain massively skewed towards oil and gas, effectively encouraging governments to overshoot emissions targets and worsen climate damage.

In its annual World Energy Outlook, the IEA provides a series of possible scenarios, each of which is dependent on the decisions taken by governments.  Oil Change International says all of them would break the Paris targets to keep global temperature rises to well below 2C, or ideally 1.5C, by the end of the century.

Under the most prominent and widely used of the IEA’s pathways – the “new policy scenario” – the world’s carbon budget for 1.5C would be exhausted by 2022, and for 2C by 2034, the report calculates.  Even its most ambitious outlook – the “sustainable development scenario” – would bust the 2C budget by 2040, even though it assumes the deployment of as yet untried to extract carbon emissions from the atmosphere, it says.

“The IEA provides an energy roadmap that is supposed to lead us to safety, but in fact it takes us over the cliff,” says Greg Muttitt, research director at Oil Change International.  “Any government or financial institution that uses these scenarios as a basis for investments in oil and gas is getting seriously bad information.  It’s shocking how far off the Paris agreement they are.”
Muttitt said the IEA needed to catch up with changing priorities and to follow the example set by the World Bank, which in December announced it would cease upstream investment in oil and gas by 2019 in response to the threat posed by climate change.

Read more at IEA Accused of Undermining Global Shift from Fossil Fuels

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