Greenpeace responds to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook

IEA: Fossil fuels got USD$312 billion subsidies; lack of climate action costs USD$1 trillion extra

Press release - 9 November, 2010
Amsterdam, 9 November 2009 – Greenpeace welcomes IEA´s call to cut the $312 billion in global fossil fuel subsidies, which would reduce fossil fuel demand and result in a fall of 2 gigatonnes CO2 or 5.8% of global energy related CO2 emission, according to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010 report launched today.

While the IEA´s position on renewable energy and climate change improves every year, the proposed energy mix in the IEA´s "climate scenario" - the 450ppm scenario - still relies on unproven technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) for coal power stations and nuclear power.

“The IEA report clearly states that fossil fuels are heavily subsidized by more than $312 billion per year globally, leading to unfair competition with clean and climate friendly renewable energies. We welcome that renewables are now in the focus of the 2010 edition,” said Sven Teske, Renewable Energy Director Greenpeace International. “The IEA is increasingly recognizing the important role renewable energy can play to fight climate change and improve security of supply. However, the IEA is failing to shift technology recommendations from unproven, dangerous and expensive technologies such as CCS and nuclear power plants.

“The IEA´s assumption, that after 2020 98% of new coal power plants will be built with CCS capability is light years away from reality. Increasing amounts of CCS projects have been cancelled due to run-away costs and the lack of public support. Plus nuclear energy is still the most expensive energy technology, and the waste issue still has no solution, as the recent demonstrations in Gorleben in Germany have clearly highlighted,” Teske added.

The latest version of the Greenpeace report ‘Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook’, produced in conjunction with the European Renewable Energy Council, shows how renewable energy, combined with greater energy efficiency, can reduce global energy-related CO2 emissions from today’s 29 billion tonnes to 18.4 billion tonnes by 2030 – less than half of the emissions from the IEA’s “Current Policy” scenario in the same year (40 billion tonnes CO2). Using the same assumptions for economic growth, fuel costs and population development as the IEA, the Greenpeace scenario also includes long-term projections to 2050 – with an 80% CO2 cut and complete nuclear phase-out by 2050, while phasing out 90% of the world’s coal power plants.

 Key Differences

• The most ambitious (450 ppm) IEA scenario results in an emission peak by 2020. The Energy [R]evolution scenario achieves the 2015 peak that the UN International Panel on Climate Change says is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.

• The most ambitious IEA scenario brings emissions from energy use down to 22 gigatonnes per year in 2030. The Energy [R]evolution reduces these emissions by a further 18%, to 18.3 gigatonnes per year – less than half the business-as-usual emissions.

• The most ambitious IEA scenario relies on unsustainable nuclear power and unproven CCS technology. The Energy [R]evolution phases out nuclear power and incorporates only proven technologies.

• Energy demand for power generation in the most ambitious IEA scenario and the Energy [R]evolution is almost the same, but the Energy [R]evolution shows that energy demand for the heating, transport and industry sectors could be 11% lower.

Key Issues

• There are currently no commercial CCS plants operating or planned, yet the IEA believes that 98% of all new coal-fired power plants installed after 2020 will be equipped with CCS.

• The projected uptake of nuclear energy in the alternative IEA scenarios is equally unrealistic, requiring the grid connection of a new nuclear reactor every month until 2035, a volume far beyond the nuclear industry’s capacity.

 

For more information contact:

Sven Teske, Greenpeace International renewable energy campaign, + 31 62129 68 94

Alexandra Dawe, Greenpeace International communications officer, + 31 646177533

Greenpeace international Press Desk, +31 20 718 24 70

 

Notes to Editors:

• Copies of the “Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook” report can be downloaded from: www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution

• The report, published on 7th June 2010, provides a practical blueprint for rapidly cutting energy-related CO2 emissions in order to help ensure that greenhouse gas emissions peak and then fall by 2015. This can be achieved while ensuring economies in China, India and other developing nations have access to the energy that they need to develop.

• The report was developed in conjunction with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Institute Ecofys and more than 40 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world.

• The report provides a comprehensive global energy concept which gives a detailed analysis of how to restructure the global energy system based on a detailed regional assessment for the potential of proven renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and the utilisation of efficient decentralised cogeneration. The Energy [R]evolution Scenario is compared to the ‘business as usual’ scenario provided by the International Energy Association’s breakdown of 10 world regions as used in the ongoing series of World Energy Outlook reports.