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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

IEA calls for halting new oil and gas exploration projects

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling for an end to new oil and gas exploration to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and meet the Paris Agreement goals, the IEA said in its Net Zero by 2050 roadmap for the energy sector.

This is a pretty big rethink for an organization that the Financial Times dubs the West’s “oil watchdog.” The IEA says that these targets will require increasing annual energy investments from USD 2 tn to USD 5 tn by 2030, the bulk of which will be in clean energy, said IEA chief Fatih Birol. Demand for coal would need to drop by 90%, oil demand would need to shrink by 75%, and natural gas demand must drop to half by 2050, the report says.

It isn’t calling for an end to hydrocarbons though: Although exploration should stop, “continued investment in existing sources of oil production are needed,” the IEA said.

The IEA’s road map is in direct odds with Europe’s biggest oil producers, all of which have climate plans that include seeking out and developing oil and gas fields for years to come, Bloomberg reports

“Countries whose economies are relying on oil and gas revenues will face huge challenges,” adds Birol. Oil producing countries have long argued that investment in new fossil fuel projects was needed to meet the demand of emerging economies in Asia and Africa, but the IEA’s model is more severe than producers have prepared for, the salmon colored paper suggests.

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