The International Energy Agency (IEA) says it wants to be at the forefront of climate action, yet it has historically published energy scenarios that are biased towards the fossil fuel industry and guide governments and investors towards failure in meeting the Paris Agreement goals.
In 2021, the IEA has taken a critical, long overdue step towards reform by committing to produce an energy scenario compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, to be published in a special report on 18 May.
In this short briefing, we outline steps the IEA must take to ensure this new scenario has both scientific integrity and a transformative impact in shifting energy investment.
To effectively guide the world towards 1.5°C-aligned investment, the IEA must:
- Include a 1.5°C-aligned scenario at the center of all its work, making it the core scenario in its flagship publication – the World Energy Outlook (WEO) – from 2021 onwards. Otherwise, the IEA risks misdirecting trillions of dollars towards new oil and gas development.
- Adopt a precautionary framework for its 1.5°C scenario that prioritizes the well-being of people, not prolongs the fossil fuel era. Specifically, this means:
- Eliminate overreliance on fossil gas.
- Abandon unrealistic projections for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
- Adopt precaution on negative emissions technologies.
- Guide governments towards a managed and just phase-out of fossil fuel production.
For more on the campaign to reform the IEA and #FixtheWEO, see http://fixtheweo.org.
You can find previous OCI analysis of the need for IEA reform in:
- WEO 2020: A small step when the world needs a giant leap, October 2020 (Analysis)
- Still Off Track: How the IEA’s 2019 World Energy Outlook undermines global climate goals, April 2020 (Briefing)
- Off Track: How the International Energy Agency guides energy decisions towards fossil fuel dependence and climate change, April 2018 (Report)