Very few information is available about the structure and functioning of the IEA, its employees and its budget.
This lack of transparency is especially worrying for an international agency that defines itself as being “world’s leading energy authority”, a sector heavy with economical, ecological, and political implications.
IEA’s internal procedures raise many questions:
- Energy companies loan staff to the international agency and keep on paying their salaries. This custom is not new but remains discrete, no list of staff on loan is available.
- Many companies participate in the IEA’s work, whether by supporting it during the internal preparation of key publications and statistics or by reviewing the documents before they are published (“peer reviews”).
- Energy companies are central to the IEA’s affiliated groups. The Coal Industry Advisory Board (CIAB), an affiliated group dedicated to coal enterprises, devoted all its last works to carbon capture to promote low carbon coal.
- A third of IEA’s budget is made of voluntary contributions but no information is given regarding them and their origins. No annual report is published to detail the budget, its use and the internal functioning of the organization.
Confronting this opacity, the researches lead by Reclaim Finance suggest the existence of significant ties between the IEA and fossil fuel companies. The fossil fuel sector especially contributed to IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2019:
- Three employees that worked on the WEO are staff loans from companies that work in the fossil fuel sector (Shell, Enel and ABB) and four are former employees from fossil fuel companies (Eni, MOL and two from Total) that left less than 5 years before.
- The IEA thanks nine fossil fuel companies for their “support and cooperation”.
- 52 “peer reviews” – roughly 20% – come from private actors with ties to the fossil fuel industry (production, distribution, extraction) or petrochemistry. Many others are actors with less direct but significant ties to the sector (ex: Chinese state research institute on oil and coal, Clean Coal Center, consultancy firms with undisclosed list of clients…).