Civil Society Reactions to the IEA Net Zero Roadmap Report 

26 September 2023

26 September 2023: The International Energy Agency released its updated Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to keep the 1.5ºC Goal in Reach today.
This new report offers a path forward for governments and decision-makers to make the right choices that will keep global warming below 1.5ºC. The report makes the following important points:

  • Reiterates its finding that there is no room for new oil, gas, and coal beyond operating fields and mines for 1.5ºC. It charts a faster phase-out of fossil gas. Compared to its 2021 scenario, the IEA has cut its projection for fossil gas demand in 2050 by almost half.
  • Calls for at least tripling total renewable energy capacity to 1.5TW or above by 2030
  • Strengthens its call for wealthy nations to accelerate their energy transition more quickly
  • Highlights that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has a history of unmet expectations. The roadmap reduces its projections for CCS deployment in 2030 by around 40% compared to the original NZE scenario. The IEA’s downgraded projections for CCS are nonetheless still dangerously high given the technology’s proven track record of failure.  

Quotes from civil society groups and representatives:
In this report, the IEA does not question the feasibility of keeping global warming below 1.5ºC as governments have significant resources and tools available to make this happen. Despite successes of renewable deployment in recent years, particularly in Europe and China, it is clear that political will is missing to enforce stronger ambition and phase out fossil fuels at the pace and scale needed. 
CAN also strongly underscores the suggestions from the IEA for international grants-based support by rich nations to developing countries for clean energies like renewables to multiply by up to USD 1 trillion annually in the next decade to have a chance to curtail escalating climate impacts. 
– Dr Stephan Singer, Climate Science and Energy Policy Advisor, CAN International

The new IEA Net Zero report offers hope because it confirms the need to stick to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5ºC goal; however, now it’s up to national leaders and their governments to act. They must dramatically boost support for clean energy, stop using public subsidies to support fossil fuels and stop especially fossil LNG gas from Russia. People in my country continue to suffer from horrific war and daily attacks from Russia, funded by its massive fossil fuels exports, and to stop the tragedy pushed upon us in Ukraine, Russia’s entire fossil fuel export market must be dried up, starting now.
– Svitlana Romanko, Founder and Director of the Ukrainian climate and peace group Razom We Stand 

It’s an extraordinary moment in history: we now have all the tools needed to free ourselves from planet-heating fossil fuels, but there’s still no decision to actually do it. That’s what leaders must deliver at the COP28 climate summit this year. They can’t claim to support the Paris Agreement and its 1.5°C warming limit if they keep permitting new fossil fuel projects.

We need a clear and just plan with benchmarks to get rid of the old, polluting fuels that are killing us. Those who’ve polluted and profited the most must be made accountable for supporting the lower-income countries and communities in their transition to clean, renewable energy. Solar and wind power are set to grow exponentially, bringing down energy costs, but that alone won’t help if our leaders fail to regulate the fossil fuel industry out of the way.” – Kaisa Kosonen, Policy Coordinator, Greenpeace International

The updated IEA Net Zero report, published today, underlines the stark truth that governments and other stakeholders must finally acknowledge. We must take dramatic action now. We cannot develop new upstream oil and gas projects – they will cause lasting damage to our climate, and are not needed. 

Neither are new coal mines, mine extensions or new unabated coal plants. What we do need is to accelerate the scaling up of solar and wind energy and commitment from financiers, public and private, to enable this. We must ensure that there is agreement at COP28 on a global renewable energy goal, and work together to phase out fossil fuels with a definitive timeline. Anything delaying coordinated global action will cause great harm to people, nature, and our planet.” – Dean Cooper, Global Energy Lead, WWF 

The 2023 Net Zero Energy report reaffirms a stark truth: To limit global temperature rise as agreed upon internationally, there’s no room for new oil, gas, or coal fields. The time for a swift, equitable, and fully funded phase-out of fossil fuels is now, with rich countries moving first and fastest and paying their fair share to finance a global just transition.

As countries prepare to make serious climate commitments at COP28, they must take into account the unequivocal evidence that the shift away from fossil fuels must happen, and it must happen fast.” -Kelly Trout, Research Director, Oil Change International

How many more reports do we need before our governments actually start listening and stop allowing fossil fuel expansion? Once again, the science is clear: allowing new oil, gas, and coal projects at this moment in history is like throwing gas instead of water on a planet on fire. Today’s IEA report reinforced what half a million people were calling for when they marched in the streets last week across the globe, that our leaders need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and focus on building a cleaner, safer world with electrification and renewable energy.

The scale of the challenge requires international cooperation, and that’s why a growing bloc of countries are calling for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The world is finally waking up to the need to phase out fossil fuels quickly and the Fossil Fuel Treaty is the plan that will ensure the wind down is equitable, fair and financed.” -Tzeporah Berman, Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative

“This new IEA report makes it clear: cleaning up methane pollution from the ‘natural’ gas system isn’t enough — we can’t avoid the worst climate outcomes without also phasing out the use of gas and transitioning to clean electricity. The fossil fuel industry continues to push distractions like ‘certified’ ‘low-carbon’ methane gas that allow them to mislead the public about the true threats of their product. Reducing methane pollution should be a legal requirement for the gas industry, not a marketing campaign for its expansion.” – Caleb Heeringa, Campaign Director for Gas Leaks

As the IEA report shows, carbon capture and storage has consistently failed to achieve any of its overblown promises, despite the billions of dollars invested over decades. It’s dangerous to pin climate hopes on a technology with such a poor track record.
There is no magical tool around the corner that can justify continued fossil fuel expansion. Instead of throwing good money after bad into the CCS delusion, governments need to fully embrace the sensible and safe approach of phasing out fossil fuels while scaling up renewable energy.” – Teresa Anderson, ActionAid International

The IEA’s updated net-zero roadmap warns of an even slimmer window to keep 1.5°C within reach, and thus leaves no illusion that coal, gas, and oil can still have roles to play in the global energy transition. For the world’s most climate-vulnerable communities and for generations yet to come, keeping the 1.5°C goal alive is not an option but a matter of survival.

This report tells us that not only should new fossil fuel extractions and power capacity expansions be stopped today, an urgent phaseout of existing power and fields should also happen with haste. Governments and companies still keeping the fossil fuel industry alive should listen to science and finally deliver the leadership necessary to end the age of fossil fuels, and make way for a just transition to renewables.” -Gerry Arances, Executive Director of Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED)

Access, affordability, people-centred transition – The IEA updated report mentions some of the key social challenges ahead if we are to stay under 1.5°C. Unfortunately, it does not give enough attention nor calls for supporting public policies that would make a Just Transition happen: Social protection, inclusive and rights-based mechanisms for planning the transition, and economic diversification plans – all of these tools are as critical for a 1.5°C trajectory as supporting clean energies and efficiency” – Anabella Rosemberg, CAN Senior Advisor on Just Transition

The International Energy Agency’s New Zero Emission by 2050 scenario urgently makes clear more than ever, we must act decisively to prevent a catastrophic 1.5°C temperature rise. The time for inaction and hesitation is over; we must swiftly and fairly phase out all fossil fuels while massively boosting renewable energy.

This updated scenario dismisses dangerous distractions like Carbon Capture and Storage, emphasizing its ‘unmet promises’. The 2023 NZE unequivocally illustrates that every day the fossil fuel industry continues unchecked, the costlier our energy transition becomes. Governments must act now, putting a halt to fossil fuel profiteering and compel polluters to fund our shift to renewable energy.

To maintain the 1.5°C threshold, we urgently require an additional 1.5 terawatts of renewable energy capacity from 2030 onwards. The remarkable aspect is that we can achieve this. Despite the enormity of the challenges, this is a pragmatic, achievable plan that demands bold action, commitment, and collaboration from governments worldwide” – Andreas Sieber, Associate Director of Campaigns and Policy  

The fossil fuel industry continues to promote CCS as a climate silver bullet. But the reality is that CCS is only driving new oil and gas development that is pushing the world closer to tipping over its 1.5C limit. As the IEA reiterates, there must be no new oil and gas if we want to stop the climate crisis.

It has also downgraded the role of CCS in its climate mitigation scenario, bolstering the fact that CCS is a solution for the industry, not for the planet. The best way to reduce fossil fuel emissions is to phase out fossil fuels and accelerate the world’s transition to renewable energy.“-Dongjae Oh, Oil and Gas Program Lead, Solutions for Our Climate

Renewable energy is on a meteoric rise – this is a shining glimmer of hope during a dark year of climate chaos. Today’s IEA report once again confirms the main barriers holding back a just transformation of the global energy system: government policies corrupted by fossil fuel interests to give them the advantage, and the trillions of public dollars still being dumped into coal, oil and gas.

History will condemn the major producers that are already trying to spin this report to justify their limitless expansion of fossil fuel projects – we can now plainly see the architects of our collective devastation. 2023 is a make-or-break year for the credibility of UN climate talks. This report makes it clearer than ever that outcomes at COP28 must include a global commitment to phase-out all fossil fuels, triple renewable energy, and double energy efficiency.” – Catherine Abreu, Founder & Executive Director, Destination Zero 

Latin America saw two recent positive examples In Colombia and Ecuador, where democracy and people´s voices have been raised to push for phaseout of fossil fuels. However, Brazil and Guiana are on a different page and plan to intensify the production of oil in the Amazon and Equatorial Margin, as well as Argentina in the case of Vaca Muerta.
The political priority of fossil fuels is still the biggest obstacle in the way of the expansion of renewable energies in Latin America.  Despite positive numbers in the pipeline for the increase of wind and solar until 2030, there is a lot to be done in terms of political, regulatory and planning efforts to boost the installation of clean sources in the region. This recommendation is clear in the new version of IEA´s Net Zero Roadmap.” -Ricardo Baitelo, Project Manager, Instituto de Energia e Meio Ambiente

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Dara Snead, Communications Officer, Climate Action Network International at / whatsapp +447917583349.
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