Press release | Nov. 13, 2019

International Energy Agency denounced for promoting increase in use of fossil gas

13th November 2019, London – At a time when the impact of climate crisis is being felt around the world, it is perverse that the International Energy Agency (IEA) continue to promote massive investment in fossil fuels, according to Global Witness.

In their 2019 World Energy Outlook, that guides decisions by Governments, businesses, industry groups and investors on fossil fuel projects, the IEA forecast for how the world can tackle climate change (the Sustainable Development Scenario) states that fossil gas production should increase by nearly 10% over the next decade.

Despite previous criticism, the IEA is again pushing an expansion in the use of gas when its production and use needs to fall by nearly half over the next decade if the world is to avoid climate breakdown, according to Global Witness analysis of the latest climate science.

Murray Worthy, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness, said:

“In a year in which we have seen unprecedented attention and public anger towards those contributing to global climate breakdown it is disappointing that once again the IEA are stuck in the past. Whilst unprecedented wildfires burn across the US and Australia it is perverse that the IEA are still encouraging a rise in the use of fossil fuels like gas.”

“The IEA must free themselves of the influence of the fossil fuel industry and the climate denying countries like the US and provide the rigorous, credible energy analysis the world so urgently needs. Meanwhile, Governments must not be misled by irresponsible forecasting from an increasingly discredited organisation and instead work to phase-out existing oil and gas fields and stop exploring for new reserves.”

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called on the world to limit warming to 1.5°C, the temperature goal of the Paris climate agreement. Yet big oil, spurred on by the IEA, have committed to production from new oil and gas fields that is incompatible with this goal.


Climate action


Notes to editor:

  • -         “Overexposed”, research by Global Witness in 2019, found that gas production and consumption needs to fall 40% over the next decade in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
  • -         “Risky Wager” endorsed by Global Witness details how the IEA promotes the use of fossil gas and how its Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) does not align with the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C
  • -         “Sea Change, endorsed by Global Witness shows that both the UK and Scottish Governments plan to extract more oil and gas, at odds with their own climate commitments.
  • -         For more on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook see:

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