By Paul Homewood
It is a month since the International Energy Agency – the rich world’s energy advisory body established in the wake of the oil price shock of 1973 — issued its astonishing report calling for the end to all new investments in oil and gas (let alone coal) from 2021. As expected, the IEA “road-map” elicited widespread media coverage and strong reactions, ranging from gushing support from those convinced of a “climate emergency” to outright dismissal, as in the case of the Saudi oil minister who called the report a sequel to “La La Land”. Commentators on the IEA’s radical call against fossil fuel investments doubtlessly have their own share of biases and diverging interests. Yet the question remains as to just how credible is the IAE’s call for a complete transformation of the global energy system within two or three decades, a system which developed over two centuries and today relies on fossil fuels for 85% of its needs.
The IEA Roadmap
The IEA calls its report “the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access and enabling robust economic growth”. Its road-map, we are told, sets out “a cost effective and economically productive pathway” to a “resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels”. “Our roadmap”, the IEA states, “shows that the enormous challenge of transforming our energy systems is also a huge opportunity for our economies, with the potential to create millions of new jobs and boost economic growth.”
“But in taking up the mantle of green advocacy on behalf of its paymasters, the IEA faces the prospect of losing all credibility as an objective advisor on energy security for its OECD members.”
This best of all possible worlds promised by IEA will come about only if policy makers around the world do just what the roadmap requires. The 200+ page report can be summarized by three key milestones requisite to its ‘net zero by 2050’ vision: an immediate end to investments in all new oil and gas developments (coal, of course, is beyond the pale); a ban on all internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035; and a zero-emission power sector by 2040. These are “sensational” milestones, as one commentator put it somewhat mildly. For others, these recommended policy diktats are more in keeping with the agenda of the radical fringe of environmental activism.
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June 23, 2021