For Immediate Release

March 31, 2021

Contact:

Kelly Trout, Oil Change International, kelly [at] priceofoil.org
David Tong, Oil Change International,
david.tong [at] priceofoil.org
Daniel Boese, Avaaz,
daniel.boese [at] avaaz.org 

At Net Zero Summit, IEA receives clear call to put 1.5°C at heart of the WEO

Full-page Financial Times ad says “proof” of IEA’s climate commitment will be in this year’s World Energy Outlook

At today’s IEA-COP26 Net Zero Summit, International Energy Agency (IEA) director Dr. Fatih Birol again asserted that his agency “will provide a roadmap for the world to be in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius,” and said this roadmap, to be released on 18 May, will guide the IEA’s work. Yet, Birol continued to dodge questions as to whether the IEA’s annual World Energy Outlook (WEO), which guides trillions of dollars in energy investment, will be centred on this pathway to 1.5°C. 

A full-page ad from the citizen’s movement Avaaz in today’s Financial Times asks, “Who is Fatih Birol playing for?” The ad notes that the IEA’s flagship report has historically “scored goals” for the fossil fuel industry by underplaying renewables and sidelining the 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement.

Government ministers and civil society leaders delivered interventions during the summit calling for a 1.5°C-aligned WEO.

Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Vice President of the Government and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge of Spain, called it the IEA’s “homework” to ensure that “among your scenarios in the World Energy Outlook is a central scenario around 1.5C.”

Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UNFCCC and founding partner of Global Optimism, called for the IEA’s forthcoming roadmap to net zero “to be the central scenario of the WEO of 2021,” adding that this 1.5C road map “would need to be people-centered” and “not dangerously rely on unproven, unpredictable technologies.”

Figueres called a 1.5°C-aligned WEO a “golden key” the IEA holds to “open the portal to policy development and capital deployment” aligned with this ambition.

Stephan Singer, Senior Climate Science and Global Energy Policy Advisor to Climate Action Network International, entreated, “Given the authority of the IEA and the WEO … please put the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC target at the heart of the WEO in 2021 and beyond.”

Campaigners with the #FixTheWEO campaign added the following reactions to today’s summit:

David Tong, Oil Change International Senior Campaigner, said: 

“Today could have been the day that the IEA put its analysis where its mouth is, and pledged to put 1.5ºC at the heart of its flagship report, the World Energy Outlook. Ministers, investors, scientists, and campaigners have been asking the IEA to step up to the climate challenge for years. We are still waiting. 

“The IEA’s commitment to develop a 1.5°C scenario is welcome and long overdue, but is not enough in itself. This new scenario must have scientific integrity and be at the heart of all of the IEA’s analyses, in particular its annual WEO report. We are watching for whether the IEA prioritizes a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, stops giving fossil gas a false pass, and abandons implausible projections of large-scale carbon capture and storage.” 

Avaaz Senior Media Campaigner Daniel Boese said: 

“International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol has been calling for governments to put clean energy at the heart of their stimulus plans. So why has his agency consistently underestimated the role and performance of renewables, playing a tangible role in slowing down the necessary shift away from fossil fuels? Birol should take his own advice and put clean energy at the center of the World Energy Outlook.”   

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