April 6, 2018 Read More →

Report: International Energy Agency’s Forecasts Are Misguided and Shaped by Conflicts of Interest

PV Magazine:

In a new report, Oil Change International and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) have taken the International Energy Agency (IEA) to task for misleading governments on climate policy through its energy forecasts.

Although it has not failed to underline the importance of the rapidly falling costs of renewables, labeling solar as the cheapest energy generation source over the next 25 years, the IEA’s scenarios for deployment have been regularly criticized for being too conservative.

The IEA’s energy forecasts are described as misguiding, steering government decisions towards levels of fossil fuel that would cause severe climate change.

Discussing the IEA’s “New Policy Scenario (NPS)”, which is commonly used as a roadmap for energy policies and investments (ironically, the IEA has said its projections are based on levels of government support), the new report titled Off Track: How the International Energy Agency Guides Energy Decisions towards Fossil Fuel Dependence and Climate Change says that emissions under the NPS would make the Paris goals unachievable, exhausting the carbon budget for the 1.5°C target by 2022, and for a 2°C limit by 2034.  

In a nutshell, the report finds that both of IEA’s scenarios, presented in the EIA’s flagship report World Energy Outlook, envisage continued public funding going to fossil fuels, with investment in oil and gas far exceeding the range of the Paris goals.

In addition to conservative forecasts on renewables and the continuing role of fossil fuels, the IEA is slammed for seeking to broaden its country constituency beyond the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, as it looks to determine which governments are cutting emissions over the next decades.

The report finds that it is contrary to the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities, that the IEA expects the majority of emissions reductions to occur in non-OECD countries, while understating the needed cuts in IEA full-member countries.

For instance, it points out that according to the SDS, India is expected to cut its 2040 emissions by 46% compared to the NPS, despite its pressing developmental needs, whereas the EU is to reduce its emissions by only 40%.

The report sheds light on another conflict of interest, noting that at least two of the authors of the latest World Economic Outlook were staff on secondment from oil companies, who continued to pay their salaries while they were writing the WEO.

More: IEA leads governments off the Paris Agreement track, report states

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