The International Energy Agency, IEA, has long been seen as a conservative body. Formed in response to the oil-supply shocks of the 1970s to “ensure the security of oil supplies,” it has long downplayed and underestimated the need for and growth in renewables such as solar and wind energy.
No longer. With a May 17 release of its new report, “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” IEA has set the energy world abuzz. Neither the complete (227 page) document nor the (15 page) summary for policy makers is an easy read for non-specialists, but the pieces below offer clear and accessible accounts of this important report’s contents and significance.
- “A new study shows getting to net-zero emissions is doable. Here’s how. ” (Editorial Board, Washington Post) This short, very readable column hits the main points.
- “IEA: World still has ‘narrow’ path to reach net-zero carbon by 2050” (Jeff St. John, Canary Media) An excellent, thorough explainer.
- “IEA’s net zero emissions road map puts a knife to the fossil fuel industry’s neck” (David Dodwell, South China Morning Post) Another very good summary and discussion of why this report is a big deal.
- “5 Things to Know about the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050” (Jennifer Layke, Joel Jaeger, Katie Pastor, Kelly Levin, Tim Searchinger, World Resources Institute) Excellent summary in the context of related research and projections, along with some critique; a start of a high-level conversation between the WRI and IEA.
- “IEA’s Net Zero by 2050” (Dave Jones, Ember) Another excellent source that includes a webinar video. See 1:40-18:37 for Jones’s introductory talk, which adds useful interpretation and emphasis. Carbon Collective Investing offers another video that focuses tightly and clearly on a key topic (8 minutes).
How might this 2050 roadmap make a difference? The IEA is a group with a lot of influence over major actors in policy and finance – as the articles above indicate (as does the sheer abundance of press coverage, easily seen with a basic internet search). Here are two interesting examples of what is very likely just the start of a long effect:
- “A New Climate Report Challenges Exxon and BlackRock” (Liam Denning, Bloomberg Opinion).
- “Net-Zero Emissions: Winning Strategy or Destined for Failure?” (Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360).
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.