As countries make plans to ramp up their NDCs,
they need a 1.5°C scenario to help them chart a course away from fossil fuels.
On Tuesday evening, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Executive Director
Fatih Birol took to the plenary stage for the Energy Day Ministerial meeting.
Energy ministers from around the world shared the (still largely inadequate)
actions their countries are taking to decarbonize the energy sector.
Sadly, right now, the IEA is fueling
inadequate levels of ambition. The IEA has rebuffed growing calls to develop a
1.5°C scenario. Instead, the IEA, in its scenarios, prolongs our dependence on
fossil fuels — especially fossil gas. It’s so-called Paris-aligned scenario
only reaches net-zero by 2070, at least 20 years too late. The IEA’s World
Energy Outlook (WEO) is frequently used to justify major new fossil fuel
infrastructure, including coal in Australia, tar sands in Canada, fracking in
the Permian, and offshore drilling in the Arctic. All of these new developments
are incompatible with 1.5°C.
“Energy decision-makers need to make hard
decisions… The aim is not to increase our egos, but to decrease our energy
emissions,” said Birol. ECO couldn’t agree more. Now it is time for the IEA to
put egos aside and heed the science, the needs of its own members, the growing
calls from the financial community and the climate movement and create a 1.5°C
On Thursday, a civil society coalition
interrupted an IEA side-event to deliver a petition signed by 12,000 people
demanding that the IEA create a 1.5°C-compatible scenario. Their voices were
amplified by leaders within the halls of IFEMA.
no paradise for the world’s most vulnerable countries. It is a compromise that
will still cost lives and livelihoods,” said Renato Redentor Constantino,
advisor to the Climate Vulnerable Forum. “There should be no question that a
1.5℃ scenario should be the centerpiece of the World Energy Outlook. It is what
we have all agreed on in the Paris Agreement, and it is a matter of life and
death. The IEA is a tool of wealthy, developed
countries that talk a big game on climate, and it is high time that they step
“Climate science clearly tells us we needed to
drop fossil fuels yesterday. And in the Permian Basin where I live, it’s not
just climate. Oil and gas expansion harms our health with toxic air pollution,
our property with earthquakes, and our lives with explosions. In every sense,
the Permian is a carbon bomb, and rather than defusing it, the IEA is holding
the match,” warned Lori Glover, Earthworks organizer & longtime Permian
If the IEA and Energy
Ministers start taking 1.5º seriously — as a life-or-death limit — ECO is
confident that they’d STOP excusing and permitting new fossil fuel
infrastructure; get moving on the necessary transition to 100% renewable,
regenerative economy; and cast off false solutions like “cleaner” fossil fuels.
If we don’t start planning for the energy transition needed for 1.5°C right
now, then the challenge will only grow steeper, imperiling our chances to
manage it in a fair and just way.