IEA Report Underscores Need for Fast, Fair Fossil Fuel Phaseout

Statement by Rachel Cleetus, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Oct 24, 2023

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual World Energy Outlook report today, which analyzes the global energy supply and demand under different scenarios and consequences for the economy and climate. The latest report also calls attention to five key actions that nations must take for COP28 to be successful.

Below is a statement by Dr. Rachel Cleetus, a policy director in the Climate and Energy Program and a lead economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“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˚C world. There are important bright spots—including a significant growth in renewable energy capacity and generation, especially solar power, and a big increase in clean energy investments in recent years. But coal, oil and gas use continue to expand globally, at odds with climate goals.

“Among other factors, the report underscores the massive increase in liquified natural gas from the United States. This expansion in long-lived fossil fuel infrastructure is definitely a cause for concern from a climate perspective. The IEA also notes that China’s slowing economic growth will have important consequences for its energy trajectory and an outsize influence on global energy trends—although questions remain about how swiftly it will transition to clean energy and lower its emissions.

“At COP28, the upcoming climate talks in Dubai at the end of the year, nations must come together to secure agreement on a fast, 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 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.”