The International Energy Agency (IEA) on the carbon bubble

2021-05-19

in Economics, Politics, Science, The environment

The International Energy Agency has released a report on what would be necessary to achieve a ‘net zero‘ global economy by 2050: Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector.

Unsurprisingly, it replicates the carbon bubble / stranded assets argument: “The global pathway to net‐zero emissions by 2050 detailed in this report requires all governments to significantly strengthen and then successfully implement their energy and climate policies. Commitments made to date fall far short of what is required by that pathway.”

It also asserts the basic concept of a contraction and convergence framework for global equity in emission reductions: “advanced economies have to reach net zero before emerging markets and developing economies, and assist others in getting there.”

Most encouragingly, it avoids the assumption that massive carbon removal technologies will be deployed, meaning a net zero pledge based around effective fossil fuel abolition:

Net zero means a huge decline in the use of fossil fuels. They fall from almost four‐fifths of total energy supply today to slightly over one‐fifth by 2050. Fossil fuels that remain in 2050 are used in goods where the carbon is embodied in the product such as plastics, in facilities fitted with CCUS, and in sectors where low‐emissions technology options are scarce.

This is naturally an enormous challenge to the companies and governments choosing to pretend that there will be an easy technological fix which reconciles controlling climate change with continued fossil fuel use.

Unsurprisingly, the CBC describes Canadian reactions to the report as “mixed”.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 20, 2021 at 2:33 pm

To achieve net-zero by 2050, scrap fossil fuel projects: IEA

All future fossil fuel projects must be scrapped if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the organisation said.

. May 20, 2021 at 2:40 pm

The International Energy Agency Issues a Landmark Statement About Fossil Fuels | The New Yorker

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-international-energy-agency-issues-a-milestone-statement-about-fossil-fuels

. May 20, 2021 at 2:42 pm

Premarket stocks: Oil companies told to stop drilling now to save the planet – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/18/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html

. May 20, 2021 at 2:45 pm

How To Achieve Carbon Neutrality By 2050, According To A New Report : NPR

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/18/997834721/no-new-oil-and-coal-projects-now-to-be-carbon-neutral-by-2050-report-says

. May 20, 2021 at 2:46 pm

Spending on new oil and gas projects needs to end immediately to avert climate crisis, IEA warns | Calgary Herald

https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oil-gas/averting-climate-crisis-means-no-new-oil-or-gas-fields-iea-says

. May 20, 2021 at 3:18 pm

Canadian oilpatch ‘confident’ IEA will alter dire warning on oil and gas once emissions tech gains ground

Reaching net zero by 2050 while achieving net economic growth is plausible, but would require drastic immediate changes

. May 20, 2021 at 3:22 pm

‘The IEA Is Starting to Get It’: World Energy Body Praised for Finally Admitting Fossil Fuels Must Stay in the Ground

“Today’s bombshell report from the International Energy Agency is easy to translate,” said Bill McKibben. “Anyone who continues to engage or invest in fossil fuel development is wrecking the climate.”

. May 20, 2021 at 3:23 pm

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