IEA – World Energy Outlook (WEO) Scenarios & Paris


Key excerpts of a joint letter are provided below which was signed by a group of 60 investors, academics, business and faith leaders and NGOs (including Carbon Tracker) and sent to Fatih Birol and the International Energy Agency (IEA) governing council chair on April 2, 2019, as covered by the Financial Times

We the undersigned call upon the IEA to:

1) Make clear that the New Policies Scenario (NPS) is a business as usual scenario that charts a dangerous course to a world with between 2.7ºC and 3ºC of warming. We recognize that it has always been your intent to warn policymakers of the insufficiency of the NPS, but given the central role it plays in the WEO, most users interpret this scenario as the guiding one. We suggest that the NPS scenario take on another name that more clearly communicates its shortfall. “New Policies” is by now no longer new, and it clearly represents an insufficient level and pace of transformation.

2 ) Develop an updated, fully transparent, ‘Sustainable Development Scenario’’ (SDS) to reflect the full range of ambition of the Paris goals and make this the central reference of the WEO . This scenario should include a reasonable probability (66%) of limiting warming to 1.5ºC; a longer time horizon (beyond 2040); and a precautionary approach to negative emissions technologies. With the understanding that there are limitations and uncertainties in both industrial and natural approaches to negative emissions, natural carbon sinks must be prioritized. This scenario should also reflect the latest evidence of the pace and potential penetration of clean technologies, and their continuing rapidly falling costs.. The current SDS emissions profile is effectively the same as the Copenhagen – era 450 Scenario, which aimed for only a 50% probability of keeping below 2ºC. As mentioned above, we now know the scope of the consequential difference between 1.5ºC and 2ºC.

Yours sincerely,