18th of June, 2020 – Today, the IEA published a special edition of its World Energy Outlook report dedicated to the measures intended to support clean energies in the context of the post covid-19 recovery plans. Oil Change International and Reclaim Finance deplore the fact that the Agency’s recommendations are still not aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, a goal that is not even mentioned in the report. Far from marking a break with existing models, the report continues to spare all forms of energy and completely ignores the necessary phase-out of hydrocarbons.

The World Energy Outlook (WEO) report is the most influential global report on energy policies. It is used by both private and public policy-makers to guide investment decisions in the field of energy. Yet recently, the report has been drawing increasing criticism by NGOs, scientists and also private investors due to its complete inadequacy with international climate targets [1]. In the context of a post covid-19 recovery plan, many were expecting the IEA to finally break with existing models and start to align with a 1.5°C trajectory.

Whilst the report concludes that renewable energies and energy efficiency should be the pillars of a green recovery, it admits not being aligned with Paris Agreement objectives and continues to cover up the need to plan an exit strategy from all fossil fuels. And even worse, by only proposing superficial measures to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector, the IEA continues to support the development of new fossil projects and infrastructures by pretending to ignore that these are incompatible with the 1.5°C target.

Romain IOUALALEN, senior campaign manager for Oil Change International says:

The credibility of the IEA is once again undermined by this report. Whilst its Director, Fatih Birol, pretends to have great ecological ambitions, the suggested recovery plan is in the IEA’s own words not aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objectives. The IEA sustains a dangerous confusion by suggesting that fossil fuels will continue to have a key role in the future and by refusing to align its recommendations with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Promoting renewable energies, energy efficiency and clean transportation in all aspects of the recovery process is laudable and necessary. But the IEA needs to confront reality and clearly explain that reaching the Paris Agreement’s goals will necessarily imply a planned and socially fair decline of the fossil industry. The half measures proposed to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector are largely insufficient and potentially counterproductive.

Lucie PINSON, founder and Director General of Reclaim Finance states:

The IEA tries to suggest that building new carbon infrastructures, in particular new gas infrastructures, destined to live well beyond 2050 is compatible with cutting emissions by half before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Unfortunately, the real world is nothing like the fairy tale the IEA is trying to sell. With the current production plans of the fossil industry already largely incompatible with these objectives, it is more than urgent to redirect investments towards true solutions: sobriety, energy efficiency and renewable energies. The right approach is clearly not to bet on nonexistent technologies to cancel the emissions that the gas and oil industry is about to emit.”


Lucie Pinson, lucie@reclaimfinance.org

Romain IOUALALEN, romain@priceofoil.org