IEA World Outlook Energy Report reaffirms need to rapidly phase down fossil fuels

27 October 2023

Reinforcing the role renewables will play in addressing energy access and the role finance from the Global North must play in facilitating this. 

24 October: 
Earlier today the IEA reaffirmed limiting planetary warming to 1.5 C in their World Outlook Energy Report, by promoting net-zero scenarios to eliminate energy poverty in the Global South by the end of the decade. Through rapid progress in wind and solar power, increased investments, and reduced costs. Despite this, fossil fuel investments have continued to grow. CAN welcomes the IEA calls to boost clean renewables, significant international cooperation, and financing including the massive scale-up of public finance for the non-OECD countries. However, the IEA still does not support a full and rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels. Though downscaled, IEA still supports a speedy build-out of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) for fossil fuels,  which is both unsafe and very expensive. Finally, their support for the global doubling of nuclear energy by mid-century as a zero-carbon policy is not supported, CAN continues to support a future based on 100% renewable energy without the use of nuclear.

Further from Civil Society:

CAN welcomes that the IEA maintains that the 1.5 C temperature limit can be met, and primarily with an energy policy worldwide based almost entirely on renewables and energy efficiency. CAN strongly support the IEA findings that a massive move to clean and energy-efficient technologies requires massive scale-up of public funding in particular by the rich OECD nations to poorer countries. But CAN regrets that the IEA does not call for a full, fair, and rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels and a 100% renewable energy economy.” – Dr Stephan Singer, Senior Advisor Climate Science And Energy Policy, CAN International.  

We now have everything we need to solve this crisis but it hinges on governments acting with the political courage to make a fast and fair plan to end climate-wrecking fossil fuels. The priority of this year’s UN Climate Conference has to be a global agreement to end the use of oil, coal, and gas urgently and fairly, starting with an immediate end to all new fossil fuel projects.” – Kaisa Kosonen, Policy Coordinator, Greenpeace International.

“This World Energy Outlook report once again undermines the argument according to which continued fossil fuel production is compatible with, or even necessary for, the global energy transition. For both economic and climatic reasons, phasing out fossil fuels is a necessary element of the inevitable transition. The IEA’s Executive Director himself asserts that it’s no longer a question of “if” but of “how”. This is why it is necessary for governments to adopt a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, i.e. a plan to redouble international cooperation efforts to: keep 1.5 alive, prevent the economic impacts of the upcoming global energy mix, and support communities most dependent on fossil fuel production. This new report provides more scientific proof and guidance to decision-makers who will be meeting next month at COP28 in Dubai, as climate disasters continue to escalate. It’s time for the international community as a whole to follow the leadership of the 8 countries that already support the Fossil Fuel Treaty proposal, the legal mechanism that will enable us to transform the transition into an opportunity for a safe, sustainable and fair future for all.” – Amiera Sawas, Head of Research, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initiative

“The IEA report makes clear that, without concerted action by policymakers, current global energy choices are causing us to hurtle toward a dangerous 2.4-degrees-Celsius world. There are important bright spots—including a significant growth in renewable energy, especially solar power, in recent years. But coal, oil and gas use continue to expand globally, at odds with climate goals. At COP28, nations must come together to secure agreement on a fast and fair phaseout of fossil fuels, alongside a massive ramp up of renewable energy and energy efficiency. There must also be a strong commitment from richer nations, including the United States, to provide climate finance for developing countries to make a rapid clean energy transition. Cutting energy related heat-trapping emissions sharply within this decisive decade and beyond is crucial to limit the pace and magnitude of climate change, which is already taking a fearsome toll on people around the world.” – Rachel Cleetus, policy director, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned

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