The world’s foremost energy outlook is still leading us to catastrophic climate change

(Climate Change News, 13 Nov 2019) Comment: Small improvements to the IEA’s authoritative report do little to guide governments, companies or investors towards a clean economic transformation.


Evidence of the unfolding climate crisis is dominating the headlines, in the form of severe fires in Australia, California, the Amazon rainforest and Siberia, flooding in England, cyclones in Bangladesh and Japan, and air pollution in northern India.

Governments, investors and companies face a monumental task in 2020: put the world on track to halve emissions by 2030 to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of a warming planet. That will help us reach net zero emissions by 2050, which is our best chance of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5C. Regenerating nature at the same time will boost that chance.

To get there safely they need to follow a quick yet managed long-term plan for overhauling our energy, industrial and transport systems. A World Energy Outlook (WEO) that prominently delineates the steps along this pathway would go a long way to reassuring decision-makers that this is possible — and desirable.

This authoritative annual book, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday, is a bible for energy, investment and policy decision-makers. Its scenarios — which the IEA itself describe as the “gold standard” of energy analysis — are referenced in decisions by company executives, their investors and government officials that will reverberate across the climate for decades.

But the WEO has yet to reflect on the urgent need to pursue a quick energy transition, or provide a robust map on how to get there. It remains an obstacle to the low-carbon transformation.

External link

Climate Change News, 13 Nov 2019: The world’s foremost energy outlook is still leading us to catastrophic climate change