Emissions, Nuclear, Renewables

Greenpeace slams IEA stance on fossil fuels

27 October 2004 – Environmental pressure group Greenpeace yesterday criticized the International Energy Agency (IEA) for failing to properly assess the world’s energy trends for the next decades in its report “World Energy Outlook 2004”.

Greenpeace says the IEA contradicts its own publications on energy efficiency and ignores the scientifically recognized need for an urgent, global shift away from fossil fuels in the interest of protecting the climate.

“With this report, the IEA sends a dangerous signal to policy makers and the industry worldwide to continue to massively waste energy, burn fossil fuels and forget about climate change,” says Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace International.

The IEA today presented its annual ‘World Energy Outlook’, which predicts that if governments stick with the policies in force, the world’s energy needs will be almost 60 per cent higher in 2030 than they are now, electricity demand will double and CO2 emissions will increase by more than 60 per cent.

In IEA’s view, fossil fuels will continue to dominate, with shares of nuclear power and renewable energy remaining limited. Furthermore, they neglect their own research on energy efficiency and disregard the draft EU directive on energy efficiency, which sets an objective of decreasing energy demand by 1 per cent per year.

Aside from their ‘Reference’ scenario, the IEA is presenting an ‘Alternative’ scenario with a decrease of CO2 emissions by 16 per cent, needing a “technological breakthrough” and a shift to renewable and nuclear power.

“Despite the ‘Alternative’ scenario, the IEA remains fixated on old and dirty fossil fuel technologies, and neglects the ongoing boom of renewable energy technologies,” says Jan Vande Putte. “Wind energy has been growing at an average of 30 per cent over the last decade and is costs competitive with coal and cheaper then nuclear power, despite massive subsidies for both dirty technologies.”

The UK government’s Energy Review estimates that by 2020 wind power will be the cheapest available electricity source, even beating gas. A report from Greenpeace and the European Wind Energy Association estimates that by 2020, more than 12 per cent of the global electricity needs could be generated by wind. The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) (4) estimated that by 2030, renewables could supply 35 per cent of the global energy needs.

“By massively investing in available renewable and efficiency technologies and ruling out dirty and expensive nuclear and fossil fuels, a genuinely sustainable energy sector is possible.” said Jan Vande Putte. “With an estimated 16 trillion dollars to be invested in the next 25 years, the world has a clear choice: either put the money in destruction or in solutions.”