Josh Eisenfeld – Campaign & Communications Manager – Corporate Accountability, Earthworks firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 921-6985
The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero Energy Roadmap (NZE) provides strong new evidence for why policies focused on reducing emissions from oil and gas production – without reducing production overall – are dangerous distractions and ineffective climate policy. The report, released Tuesday, makes it very clear the production and use of fossil fuels must be sharply reduced and replaced with renewables in the coming decades in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the report emphasizes “well-designed policies…are key to facilitat[ing] declines in fossil fuel demand and creat[ing] additional room for clean energy to expand.”
The IEA’s NZE report recognizes governments’ tendency to focus on the intensity of emissions – the amount of pollution per molecule – versus overall production or total emissions is a barrier to progress on climate:
“Attempts by governments to prioritise domestic production must recognise the risk of locking in emissions that could push the world over the 1.5 °C threshold…”
The IEA also reiterated its directive that preserving the pathway to 1.5°C is incompatible with any new oil and gas development, and in fact requires substantial reduction in the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.
Therefore as we head into COP28, we are calling on world leaders who are committing to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) or working on global emissions frameworks to center conversations on fossil fuel phaseout and include framework criteria that provide evidence that reductions in methane intensity actually result in reductions of absolute emissions.
We encourage all countries – particularly the United States and other major producers – to revise their climate commitments to include metrics to guarantee a decline in fossil fuel production in line with or more ambitious than what the IEA shows is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
We cannot afford to throw resources and financing behind infrastructure based on the presumption fossil fuels will remain a significant source of energy.
“This new IEA report makes it clear: Cleaning up methane pollution from the ‘natural’ gas system isn’t enough – we can’t avoid the worst climate outcomes without also phasing out the use of gas and transitioning to clean electricity,” said Caleb Heeringa, Campaign Director, Gas Leaks. “The fossil fuel industry continues to push distractions like ‘certified’ ‘low-carbon’ methane gas that allow them to mislead the public about the true threats of their product. Reducing methane pollution should be a legal requirement for the gas industry, not a marketing campaign for its expansion.”
“Focusing on dangerous distractions like the Department of Energy’s efforts to create international standards to reduce methane intensity will not cut it,” said Lauren Pagel, Policy Director at Earthworks. “In order to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis we must focus on absolute emissions reductions, which will only come from a fossil fuel phaseout and a just transition.”
“Today’s IEA report adds weight to what we have known about fossil gas for years. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, gas production must decline, starting today,” said Lorne Stockman, Research Director at Oil Change International. “Even if fossil fuel companies did everything possible to end methane flaring and venting, that wouldn’t be enough. The reality is that a fast, fair, and funded gas phaseout is needed.”
“What we need is a global phaseout of fossil fuels, not a shameless certification scheme for greenwashed gas,” said Lukas Ross, Senior Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “The Department of Energy is playing a very dangerous game with its dirty energy diplomacy.”
Josh Eisenfeld – Corporate Accountability, Earthworks
email@example.com, (202) 921-6985
Valentina Stackl, Media Specialist, Oil Change International
Valentina@priceofoil.org, (734) 276 6260
Caleb Heeringa – Campaign Director, Gas Leaks
firstname.lastname@example.org, (425) 890-9744
Gabrielle Levy – Associate Director, Communications, Climate Nexus
email@example.com, (562) 673-6974
Brittany Miller – Senior Press Officer, Friends of the Earth US
firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 222-0746