International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol yesterday faced renewed pressure to overhaul the organization’s influential projections for fossil fuel demand from investors and scientists concerned about climate change.
Pension funds, insurers and large companies were among 65 signatories of a joint letter to Birol, seen by reporters, urging him to do more to support the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement to avert catastrophic global warming.
“The year 2020 marks a turning point for the world — the year when we either grasp the challenges and opportunities before us, or continue delaying and obstructing the low-carbon transformation,” the letter said.
The letter represented the first coordinated response by investors, scientists and campaigners pushing Birol to rethink the Paris-based organization’s flagship annual World Energy Outlook since the latest edition was launched on Wednesday.
The Outlook, which runs to hundreds of pages, helps shape expectations in financial markets over how quickly the world could transition from a fossil fuel-dominated energy system to cleaner sources of power.
Since the start of this year, various networks of institutional investors, asset owners, scientists and climate advocacy groups have been urging Birol to change the way the report is produced and presented.
These critics argue that a revised approach could help unlock faster investment in renewables and better identify possible risks to the value of oil, gas and coal companies posed by the prospect of rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The IEA made several changes to the new edition of the Outlook, including providing what officials describe as a more “stringent” scenario showing how the world could fully achieve the goals of the Paris deal than in the previous edition.
In interviews with Reuters this month, Birol and other senior IEA officials argued that the criticism of the outlook was misplaced, saying it was based on misunderstandings of how its scenarios work and what they aim to demonstrate.
Birol also emphasized that the IEA’s wide-ranging work on topics from energy efficiency to offshore wind played an important role in boosting international efforts to tackle climate change.
Nevertheless, in the letter, signatories described the new elements in the latest report as “minor improvements” that should not be mistaken for delivering “urgently needed substantial changes.”
The signatories said they wanted the IEA to produce what they would consider a “fully transparent” scenario showing how the world could meet the most ambitious Paris accord goals.
That would include reliably limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times without banking on early stage technologies to suck carbon from the air, and reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The signatories want their vision for what would qualify as such a scenario to be the centerpiece of the next report.
German insurer Allianz, Switzerland’s Zurich Insurance Group, and Danish fund PensionDanmark confirmed that they had signed the letter. Other signatories shown on a copy of the letter seen by reporters include Unilever, IKEA, Nordea Life & Pension and Orsted.
Climate scientists based in the US, Britain and Germany, former UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet also signed.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year