The Washington Post editorial writer Stephen Stromberg echoed the new World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change’s view that nations’ carbon-reduction pledges ahead of negotiations in Paris this year must be seen as only a first step to limiting global average temperature rise to 2°C. “While inadequate, the IEA found that these commitments will help dramatically decouple economic growth from emissions growth over the coming years,” he wrote. “More important than the size of these particular commitments, however, will be the structures and expectations the Paris negotiators establish to produce more commitments later.” The IEA, he added, calls for major conferences every five years to evaluate progress and enhance efforts: “If the IEA’s analysis shows anything, it is that world leaders must establish this international regime as soon as possible.”
The scientific journal Nature featured the two high-profile publications on climate change of the third week of June: the World Energy Outlook Special Report and Pope Francis I’s Laudato si' encyclical. Saying that some of the encyclical’s content “would not look out of place in an IEA report”, Nature selected 10 paragraphs from the two documents and challenged readers to determine whether the Agency or the Holy See wrote them. (If you need a hint: there are five selections from each report.)
BBC News featured IEA Gas Coal & Power Markets Division Head Laszlo Varro in an extensive report from the World Gas Conference in Paris about whether gas can be a weapon in the fight against climate change: it quoted IEA analysis in concluding that the fuel is only partially effective. “In fact, if all the coal power stations in the world were turned off and replaced with modern gas-fired plants, total global CO2 emissions would fall by about 5 billion tonnes a year to 25 billion tonnes, according to Laszlo Varro at the International Energy Agency (IEA),” the BBC reported. “Emissions need to fall to about 5 billion tonnes for the climate to stabilise, he says.”
The EU-focused news service EurActiv covered the IEA outlook for European gas imports in Medium-Term Gas Market Report 2015, noting that liquefied natural gas imports are expected to double by 2020 but that weakened Asian demand appears to leave Europe in a strong bargaining position. Even with the greater LNG supply, resurgent European demand means that Russian imports are “not set to be meaningfully displaced”, EurActiv quoted from the report.
Civil Engineering, the magazine of the American Society of Civil Engineers, reported in-depth on the findings of the IEA book Energy Technology Perspectives 2015, noting how lagging progress in low-carbon technologies complicates countries’ efforts to limit climate change to 2°C even as acceptance of that goal “currently looks positive”. “We all know clean-energy deployment is not at the level where it needs to be,” Civil Engineering quoted IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as saying.
Much has changed in natural gas markets since the IEA introduced the concept of the Golden Age of Gas in 2011, Laszlo Varro, Head of the IEA Gas, Coal and Power Markets Division, told the annual Flame conference in Amsterdam. “The good news is that shale gas production in the US is actually running 10 years ahead of schedule: it is as much now as we predicted for the 2020s, so the US industry is beyond the golden age – perhaps in the platinum or diamond age of gas, defying gravity,” Natural Gas Europe quoted him as saying. But with other regions, especially Europe, so far unable to replicate the US boom, “The importance of intercontinental gas trade is increasing as a consequence.”
A New York Times profile of US President Barack Obama’s senior adviser in charge of climate policy, Brian Deese, says he “loves to cite his favorite new statistic: a recent report by the International Energy Agency that found that last year, global gross domestic product grew 3 percent, while carbon dioxide emissions flatlined”.
The Asian coal market is changing, and more buyers are using derivatives to hedge their costs, resulting in modest but growing numbers of open-market swaps, IEA Senior Coal Analyst Carlos Fernández Alvarez informed the Financial Times.
In a letter to The Telegraph, Camilla Toulmin, Director of the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, quoted IEA analysis to argue in favour of decentralised, sustainable electricity generation in poor regions: "For hundreds of millions who live without grid access, the International Energy Agency suggests that community-scale renewable energy projects are frequently cheaper and more reliable than centralised fossil fuel generation."