August 2, 2021

How the International Energy Agency converted to carbon neutrality

“We are not saying it, nor even the scientists… It is the International Energy Agency! “ A few weeks ago, the “guarantee” of the International Energy Agency (IEA) was brandished by oil companies to justify new projects. Now, it is by climate activists advocating the end of the fossil industry that the argument is used. A turn at 180 degrees, commensurate with the transformation brought about by the organization dependent on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

On May 26, the IEA published a report which details one of the possible paths to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and thus limit global warming to 1.5 ° C. A document that “Shakes up the world of energy”, in the words of the American weekly Times. Created in 1974 by the United States and its Secretary of State at the time, Henry Kissinger, shortly after the embargo of Arab countries, the agency’s mission was to defend the interests of countries importing black gold. She now says investment in new oil and gas facilities must stop. Not over the next decade, but today.

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Published in the midst of the general meetings of the oil majors, this scenario describes an energy system dominated by photovoltaics and in which 90% of the electricity comes from renewable sources. It also lays down a series of milestones to reach this horizon in less than thirty years, such as the prohibition of sales of fuel oil boilers and heat-engine cars, or the development of high-speed train lines.

“For the first time, the benchmark source for the energy sector says that achieving carbon neutrality is feasible, notes Matthieu Auzanneau, specialist in oil issues and director of the think tank on energy transition The shift Project. She explains that this supposes technological advances, but also profound changes in uses. The IEA says that you need to fly less, that’s historic! “

Fatih Birol, author of the report

From his office overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, observes with satisfaction the shock wave caused by this publication, the importance of which was underlined by the United States’ special envoy for the climate, John Kerry, the executive vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, or the energy ministers of Denmark or Chile.

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