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IEA Global Energy Roadmap shows the writing is on the wall

May 18, 2021
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A major new report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that global expansion in the gas industry must cease and demand for LNG must fall dramatically under a global energy scenario that achieves the global goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 as required under the Paris Agreement.

The report has profound implications for Woodside and BHP’s Scarborough LNG development, and for the future of the gas industry in Western Australia. At the same time, the report points to huge opportunities for Western Australia as part of a renewable energy economy.

Conservation Council Director Piers Verstegen said the report should be a major wake up call for the WA Government, gas companies, and their shareholders and investors.

“This report confirms that the writing is on the wall for WA’s gas industry, and in particular for Woodside’s proposed Scarborough and Browse Basin LNG projects.

“There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net-zero pathway” - IEA

“The IEA has made clear that for the global energy system to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, that no new gas fields can proceed, and global LNG demand will fall dramatically over the coming decades.

Key points from the Net Zero by 2050 Global Energy Roadmap:

  • No new gas fields can proceed, and some existing gas fields must cease production prematurely.
  • Global LNG demand will fall dramatically over the coming decades, with a reduction in demand of 5% per year during the 2030s.
  • LNG facilities already in operation or under construction will not be needed as part of the future energy mix.

“This update from the IEA places beyond doubt that Woodside’s gas expansion projects would directly undermine the Paris Agreement, and cannot be justified as part of a global energy future where the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is achieved.

“This means that Woodside and BHPs $16 billion Scarborough to Pluto LNG project would become a very expensive stranded asset and the expansion of the Pluto LNG facility cannot be justified under a global energy scenario that is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Woodside and BHP claim that they support the goals of the Paris Agreement and the companies have previously used the IEA’s global energy scenarios to justify their major expansion projects.

"The IEA report released today makes it very clear that by persisting with developments like Scarborough, these companies would be gambling billions of dollars on a future where the Paris Agreement is not met, and where global climate change will have dire consequences for our planet and our economy.

“The report highlights the huge opportunities that exist where government embraces and plans for the transition away from fossil fuels. The agency has identified 14 million new jobs to be created globally and without our outstanding renewable energy potential, the race is now on for Western Australia to attract as many of those jobs as we can.

“The transition to net-zero brings substantial new opportunities for employment, with over 14 million jobs created by 2030 in our pathway, thanks to new activities and investment in clean energy.

"The report also contains a very clear warning to government that careful management is needed to ease the transition to clean energy sources, with clear plans for affected communities and workers. This is particularly important for Western Australia’s gas industry," Mr Verstegen said.

Selected quotes from the IEA report released today:

“Between 2020 and 2050, natural gas traded as LNG falls by 60%. During the 2030s global natural gas demand declines by more than 5% per year on average meaning that some fields may close prematurely.

No new natural gas fields are needed in the Net Zero Emissions pathway, beyond those already under development. Also not need are many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage.

“…the net-zero pathway results in a sharp decline in fossil fuel demand, meaning that the focus for oil and gas producers switches entirely to output – and emissions reductions – from the operation of existing assets. Gas demand declines by 55% and oil declines by 75%"

“It is paramount to remain aware that not every worker in the fossil fuel industry can ease into a clean energy job, so governments need to promote training and devote resources to facilitating new opportunities”

“Ever cheaper renewable energy technologies give electricity the edge in the race to zero"

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