IEA Says Fossil Fuels Have Peaked. Now the Hard Work Begins.
The International Energy Agency has laid out a narrow path to the faster, deeper carbon cuts we need. Now it’s up to the rest of us to make it a reality.
This week’s report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is an important moment, laying out a narrow path to faster, deeper carbon cuts that can help get the climate emergency under control. But it’s just one part of a bigger picture.
It’s a loud, flashing signal to decision-makers around the world when the Paris-based IEA says demand for all fossil fuels has peaked or plateaued, that clean energy options are ready to scale up if they get the financial backing to make it happen. The agency styles its annual World Energy Outlook as the “gold standard of energy analysis”. And for better or worse, its conclusions often become the assumptions that help guide government policies and private investment.
The transformation in the IEA’s modelling, beginning with last year’s World Energy Outlook, is nothing short of remarkable for an organization that first formed in the early 1970s to protect the world’s biggest oil consumers. As The Energy Mix reported exclusively last year, Canada played no small role in the behind-the-scenes lobbying for a scenario that actually charted a course to net-zero.
But it will only matter if energy planners, utilities, banks, pension funds, and governments at all levels shift their assumptions, infrastructure, and bad habits to embrace a fast transition off fossil fuels.