Tuesday, October 6th – One week before the publication of the highly anticipated World Energy Outlook 2020 (WEO) (1) of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Reclaim Finance publishes a memo identifying 5 major traps to avoid to provide climate scenarios aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The memo – entitled Climate scenarios: 5 traps to avoid to keep global warming under 1.5°C – analyses 8 scenarios presented as compatible with the Paris Agreement. It showcases the main errors that rob these scenarios of their credibility and that facilitate the continued support and development of fossil fuels.
“The main scenarios presented today as compatible with the Paris Agreement are only compatible in a magical world where, to cite just these two examples, forgetting almost 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions (2) and betting on a massive deployment of hypothetical technologies are not a problem. The mockery reaches its heights when some scenarios claim to enable an alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, even though they do not aim for a 1.5°C trajectory,” stresses Paul Schreiber, campaign manager at Reclaim Finance.
So far, the IEA has always ignored mounting criticisms originating from civil society and even investors. The 2019 edition of the IEA’s “climate” scenario – called the “Sustainable Development Scenario” (SDS) (4) – still incorporated all the traps described in the memo, thus pushing the many actors who use it as a reference on a global warming trajectory above 1.5 and even 2°C.
“Financial and political institutions turn a blind eye to the improbabilities of IEA’s scenarios, including the SDS. They provide them with a ready to use alibi to keep on financing fossil fuel expansion while advertising their climate commitments. We hope that this memo will help shed a light on a topic that remains little debated and push all players to be intellectually honest and courageous. The acceleration of climate-related events show that it is more than urgent to establish robust 1.5°C scenarios, free from the influence of fossil fuel lobbies.” says Lucie Pinson, Founder and Director of Reclaim Finance.
Reclaim Finance will look closely at the IEA’s 2020 scenarios that will be published next week in the WEO. The NGO calls on financial, political, economic and social actors to demand robust 1.5°C scenarios from standard-setting agencies such as the IEA. These scenarios must adopt a particularly cautious approach to negative emissions technologies, cover all GHG emissions and take full account of the need to move away from fossil fuels.
Beyond the adoption of plausible scenarios, the NGO highlights that alignment with a 1.5°C trajectory requires rapid and concrete actions (5). In particular, it is essential to commit to exit fossil fuels by clearly established and documented deadlines – by 2040 at the latest in Europe and 2050 elsewhere for gas and oil, and 10 years earlier for coal – and to put an immediate end to all financial services to new projects and the companies that develop them.