The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its first net-zero report outlining a full-fledged scenario that charts the course of reducing emissions from the energy sector in alignment with the Paris Agreement.
The report is remarkable because the IEA is viewed as a relatively conservative organization that has, in the past, consistently undermined the potential of renewable energy. IEA reports are often pivotal in shaping world government and industry decisions.
With this report, the IEA finally acknowledges there is no room for new fossil fuel projects within their pathway to 1.5C. However, their scenario depends heavily on ‘net zero’ projects which have seen polluting governments and corporations shifting the burden, disguising climate inaction and maintaining a business-as-usual scenario.
The UK team lead at 350.org, Anna Vickerstaff, said: “In the past, the International Energy Agency has been hesitant to call time on the fossil fuel industry – not anymore. When this conservative institution is demanding an end to fossil fuels it really is time for governments to ditch the net-zero rhetoric and take immediate action to cut their support for polluting corporations
“We won’t stand by and let the UK government use this year to grandstand themselves by loudly celebrating empty net-zero promises. The growing call for concrete action is impossible to ignore. It’s time to end fossil fuels.
“We demand that the richest countries own up to their climate debt, support countries least responsible and hardest hit by the climate crisis through massive and unconditional climate finance, and deliver a rapid transition to a fairer and more sustainable economy that works for all.”
Similarly, the Africa managing director, Landry Nintereste, said: “There is a growing risk that reports such as these are shifting the narrative away from the rapid and ‘real’ emissions reductions that climate justice requires. Net-zero is being used by the world’s biggest polluters and governments as a façade to evade responsibility and disguise their inaction or harmful action on the climate crisis. We are seeing a lot of net-zero projects for example by fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP where carbon offsetting through tree planting is being championed as the answer to the climate crisis.
“There are also massive implications for communities in the global south living on the land where these carbon offsetting projects are being planted, putting pressure on food systems and generating land conflicts even though these countries have done little to cause the climate crisis. We have seen violent evictions of indigenous people, for example, the Sengwer people in Kenya, to make way for tree plantations. Net-zero is a dangerous trap that constitutes a new form of climate colonialism. It needs to be resisted.”