June 18, 2020


Kelly Trout, kelly [at] priceofoil [dot] org
David Tong, david.tong [at] priceofoil [dot] org

Oil Change International Experts React to IEA Sustainable Recovery Report

In response to the new report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA), experts at Oil Change International have issued the following statements:

Kelly Trout, Oil Change International:

“The IEA again misses the mark where it matters the most, completely ignoring the link between sustainable recovery and staying within 1.5°C of warming. Nowhere in the report is there mention of the critical 1.5-degree warming limit, let alone analysis of what’s needed for a recovery plan to be fully aligned with it.

“As trillions of dollars shift as part of the COVID-19 recovery, governments need clarity on the bold and decisive steps required to halve carbon emissions within this decade, the key guidepost laid out by climate scientists for staying within 1.5°C. This report does not deliver it.

“While eventually concluding the obvious, that energy efficiency and renewable energy are the best recovery investments, the IEA does not assess how governments can drive a transition to those solutions at the pace and scale needed to meet global climate goals. Moreover, the IEA sends confusing messages by considering measures that would prolong, rather than phase out, fossil fuels.

“The report also misses the mark on fossil fuel subsidies. The IEA focuses narrowly on reducing consumption subsidies while proposing measures that could actually increase production subsidies, at a time when G20 governments already hand out USD 77 Billion dollars a year to prop up oil, gas, and coal production. The report also sidelines just transition measures that could create jobs in winding down fossil fuel production, such as decommissioning oil wells and cleaning up polluted mining sites.

“The IEA is running out of chances to prove it is fit for purpose in a time of climate emergency. Despite mounting calls from scientists, investors, energy experts, and even member states, the IEA continues to refuse to put 1.5°C at the heart of its influential reports. The IEA’s next chance to recover its credibility on climate will come in July as they host a Clean Energy Transitions Summit. Dr. Fatih Birol should announce a plan to make WEO 2020 the bold and ambitious tool that the world needs to meet the Paris goals by putting a 1.5°C scenario at its heart.”



  • Statements in French are available here
  • Related letter to the IEA from 70+ scientists, diplomats, investors, and energy experts available here.
  • For more information please visit

One Comment

  • A recent article in The Guardian about the same subject, warning how little time we have left to turn things around ironically (but not intentionally) stated that the IEA was “the world’s gold standard for energy analysis”.
    Quite to the contrary, it’s a fact that the IEA has been consistently, dramatically, and demonstrably wrong in their assessments, especially with regard to Renewable Energy.

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