Open Letter To EU Institutions On The IEA Net Zero Report And The Implications For Fossil Gas In The EU Climate Taxonomy

The publication of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector in May 2021 was a watershed moment for global climate action. The report maps out concrete milestones that need to be met to enable a 2050 world with net zero emissions and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.

The IEA report finds that in order to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5oC, we must ensure:

  • No investment in new fossil fuel supply beyond projects committed in 2021: As the Executive Director of the IEA stated: “there is no need for new oil, gas and coal development, which includes no need for oil and gas exploration investments.”
  • Zero-emission electricity: Electricity generation must be 100% zero-emission in the OECD by 2035, and globally by 2040. This means a phase out of all oil and gas-fired power plants within the same timeframes (while coal-fired power has to be phased out sooner).
  • For heating, there are no new fossil fuel boilers sold from 2025.

These IEA findings confirm once and for all that new gas investments cannot be deemed compatible with a 1.5°C pathway. In addition, given that the average lifespan of gas-fired plants is 25 years, it makes clear that there is no room in the EU and OECD’s carbon budget for any new fossil gas-fired plant producing power and/or heat to be installed between now and 2035.

This has serious implications for the EU taxonomy: given that there is no room for new gas power in the IEA 1.5°C scenario, gas cannot be included in the EU sustainable finance taxonomy, which itself refers to a 1.5°C pathway in both its Article 10(2) on transitional activities and Article 19 on technical screening criteria.

Finally, it should be noted that the IEA’s findings on fossil gas are fully consistent with the Commission’s own Impact Assessment for the 55% climate target, which finds that EU gas consumption needs to be cut by around 30% by 2030 and that gas supply to residential buildings must fall even faster, by 44%.

With COP26 nearing, we call on you not to include fossil gas in the EU sustainable taxonomy (concretely, the Commission should adhere to the 100 g CO2/kWh threshold set by the first Delegated Act for power and heat): it would ruin the taxonomy’s credibility, undermine the European Green Deal, and send a disastrous global signal at odds with the urgent need for climate mitigation efforts.

The US is already aiming for clean power by 2035, which is consistent with the IEA report. The EU must not send a signal, with its own taxonomy, that goes in the opposite direction.

The Annex of this letter provides more evidence on the electricity and heat sectors from the IEA Net Zero report.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to clarify any questions you may have.

Kind regards,

  1. WWF European Policy Office, Ester Asín, Director
  2. ActionAid Denmark, Lars Koch, Policy Director
  3. Transport & Environment, William Todts, Executive Director
  4. Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V., Leif Miller, National Executive Director
  5. CEE Bankwatch Network, Pippa Gallop, Southeast Europe Energy Advisor
  6. Agent Green, Gabriel Paun, President
  7. Naturefriends International, Andrea Lichtenecker – Executive Director
  8. European Environmental Bureau, Jeremy Wates, Secretary General
  9. E3G, Lisa Fischer, Programme Lead Climate Neutral Energy Systems
  10. Climate Bonds Initiative, Prashant Vaze, Senior Fellow
  11. ClientEarth, Anaïs Berthier, Head of EU Affairs
  12. Greenpeace European Unit, Magda Stoczkiewicz, Programme Director
  13. CAN Europe, Wendel Trio, Director
  14. Fondation Nicolas Hulot pour la Nature et l’Homme, Alain Grandjean, Président
  15. Friends of the Earth Europe, Eilidh Robb, Anti Fossil Fuels Campaigner
  16. WeMove Europe, Laura Sullivan, Executive Director
  17. ECOS, Justin Wilkes, Executive Director
  18. Global Witness, Murray Worthy, Gas Campaign Leader
  19. AbibiNsroma Foundation, Kenneth Nana Amoateng, Director
  20. Noarc21, Colin Buick, Chairperson
  21. Climate Strategy Group, Peter Sweatman, CEO
  22. Forum Ökologie & Papier, Evelyn Schönheit, Environmental Scientist
  23. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, Ariel Brunner, Senior Head of Policy
  24. ASUFIN (Association of Financial Users), Virginia Fuentes, Financial Services Manager
  25. Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director
  26. Reclaim Finance, Paul Schreiber, Supervision of Financial Institutions Campaigner
  27. Fair Finance International, Kees Kodde, Project Lead
  28. Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany, Tilman Massa, consultant
  29. AnsvarligFremtid, Johannes Lundberg, Campaign Coordinator
  30. Foundation Bluelink, Bulgaria, Pavel Antonov, Executive Director
  31. Pracownia na rzecz Wszystkich Istot, Radosław Ślusarczyk, President of the Board
  32. VsI “Ziedine ekonomika”, Domantas Tracevicius, Director
  33. ZERO – Associação Sistema Terrestre Sustentável, Francisco Ferreira, President of the Board
  34. Klimabevægelsen (350 Denmark), Thomas Meinert Larsen, Policy Adviser
  35. Council for Sustainable Transport, Denmark, Poul Kattler, Chairperson
  36. Ecological Association EKO-UNIA, Radosław Gawlik, President
  37. DOF BirdLife, Thomas Lehmberg, International Program Manager
  38. Environmental Action Germany, Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Executive Director
  39. Profundo, Jan Willem van Gelder, Director
  40. GegenStroemung – INFOE e. V., Thilo F. Papacek, Project Officer
  41. Climate & Company, Ingmar Juergens, Managing Director
  42. Polish Ecological Club Mazovian Branch, Urszula Stefanowicz, Policy Officer
  43. Fair Finance Guide Netherlands (Eerlijke Geldwijzer), Peter Ras, Project Lead
  44. Gas Free Pensions, Clara McDonnell, Communicator
  45. Green Liberty, Janis Brizga, Chair
  46. Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities, Richard Matey, Executive Coordinator
  47. ShareAction, Maria van der Heyde, Head of EU Policy
  48. Aki Kachi, Climate Science Expert
  49. Society for the Earth, Robert Wawręty, Vice-President
  50. Les Amis de la Terre France, Lorette Philippot, Private Finance Campaigner
  51. Fossil Free Sweden, Maria Hammer, Project Leader
  52. Aitec, Maxime Combes, Economist
  53. ATTAC Germany, Michael Tellman, Campaigner
  54. BirdWatch Ireland, Oonagh Duggan, Head of Advocacy
  55. Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Tristram Whyte, Policy Officer
  56. 2Celsius, Mihai Stoica, Executive Director
  57. Humusz Waste Prevention Alliance, György Szabó, Zero Waste Program Manager
  58. Estonian Green Movement, Madis Vasser, Board Member
  59. EuroNatur Foundation, Gabriel Schwaderer, Executive Director
  60. Kola Ecocenter Public ecological movement, Yuri Ivanov, Council Member
  61. urgewald, Heffa Schuecking, Director, and Regine Richter, energy campaigner
  62. Centre for Transport and Energy, Barbora Urbanová, Director, and Šimon Batík, Coordinator
  63. Society for Sustainable Living Czech Republic, Jiří Dlouhý, Chairman
  64. Re-set, Radek Kubala, Campaigner
  65. Extinction Rebellion Slovakia, Ondrej Kozlovsky, CLO
  66. Fundacja „Rozwój TAK – Odkrywki NIE”, Patrycja Stefanek, Finance Campaigner
  67. Biodiversity Conservation Center, Alexey Zimenko, Director General
  68. Rainforest Action Network, Pallavi Phartiyal, Deputy Executive Director
  69. Bellona Europa, Jonas Helseth, Director
  70. Ecologistas en Acción, Sagrario Monedero, Gas Campaigner
  71. Fundación Renovables, Fernando Ferrando Vitales, President Raquel Paule, Martín, Director General
  72. Change Finance, Shonan Kothari, Convener
  73. Both ENDS, Niels Hazekamp, Senior Policy Adviser
  74. ECODES, Víctor Viñuales, Executive Director
  75. Zielony Instytut, Dariusz Szwed, Board Member
  76. Instytut na rzecz Ekorozwoju, Andrzej Kassenberg, Co-founder and Senior Expert
  77. Alianza Mar Blava, Sara Pizzinato, Project Leader
  78. ReCommon, Antonio Tricarico, Programs Director
  79. Talousdemokratia – Economic Democracy Finland, Konsta Nylander, Chairman
  80. GAP Poland Foundation, Zdzisław Nitak, Director
  81. The Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network, Maciej Wereszczyński, Climate and Energy Coordinator
  82. Socio-ecological union international, Svet Zabelin, Coordinator
  83. World Animal Protection Netherlands, Dirk Jan Verdonk, Director
  84. Natuur & Milieu, Marjolein Demmers, Executive Director
  85. Shamrock Sping, Deirdre Lane, Founder
  86. Forum for Ageing Better, Carmel Mulrine, Acting Coordinator
  87. Global Aktion, Morten Nielsen, Campaigner
  88. Emergenzaclimatica.it, Angelo Gagliani, Coordinator
  89. Campagna Per il Clima Fuori dal Fossile, Renato di Nicola, Campaign Representative
  90. Clean Air Action Group (Hungary), András Lukács, President
  91. EKOenergy ecolabel, Steven Vanholme, Programme Manager
  92. Bulb Foundation, Allison Robertshaw, Director
  93. Za Zemiata, Rory Forster, Gas Policy Coordinator
  94. The Green Tank, Nikos Mantzaris, Partner & Senior Policy Analyst
  95. Andy Gheorghiu Consulting, Andy Gheorghiu, Campaigner & Consultant (Founder)
  96. SEE Change Network, Garret Patrick Kelly, Principal
  97. eco-union, Jeremie Fosse, President
  98. Eco Advocacy, Suzanne Brady, Director
  99. Facing Finance, Thomas Küchenmeister, Managing Director
  100. Ember, Phil MacDonald, COO, and Sarah Brown, Senior Analyst
  101. Coal-Free Finland (Hiilivapaa Suomi), Vera Kauppinen, Campaign specialist
  102. Counter Balance, Xavier Sol, Director
  103. Finnwatch, Lasse Leipola, Climate Policy Specialist
  104. Vasemmistofoorumi – Left Forum Finland, Jukka Pietiläinen, Director
  105. Fair Finance Guide Sweden, Jacob König, Policy Expert
  106. Just Finance International, Wawa Wang, Program director
  107. Oil Change International, Bronwen Tucker, Public Finance Campaign Co-Manager
  108. Youth and Environment Europe, Nathan Méténier, Advocacy Manager
  109. Milieudefensie, Jonas Hulsens, Senior Policy Officer
  110. Extinction Rebellion Ireland, Caroline Kuyper, Campaigner
  111. Umweltinstitut München e.V., Dr. Hauke Doerk, Campaigner on Energy Politics and Radioactivity
  112. Groen Pensioen, Marjolein van Dillen, Analyst
  113. Swedwatch, Davide Maneschi, Programme Officer on Climate Change
  114. Food & Water Action Europe, Frida Kieninger, Senior Campaigner
  115. Partnership for Policy Integrity, Mary Booth, Director
  116. Ecoloxistes n’Aición d’Asturies, Paco Ramos, Energy and Pollution Commission
  117. Dublin FoE, Fergal Costello, Executive
  118. Energy Watch Group, Hans-Josef Fell, President
  119. Framtiden i våre hender, Anja Bakken Riise, Leader
  120. Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, Caroline Whyte, Ecological Economist
  121. International Network for Sustainable Energy – Europe, Gunnar Boye Olesen, coordinator
  122. Réseau Action Climat France, Neil Makaroff, EU Policy Coordinator
  123. Lithuanian Consumers Alliance, Kęstutis Kupšys, Vice-President
  124. Quantum Leap, Pía Carazo, Director
  125. Jordens Vänner, Sofia Hedström, Acting Director
  126. BankTrack, Johan Frijns, Director
  127. Europe Beyond Coal, Mahi Sideridou, Managing Director
  128. Climate Finance Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (GFLAC), Diana Cardenas Monar, International Agenda Coordinator
  129. Zelena Akcija, Luka Tomac, President
  130. Tree Union Netherlands, Paul Dufour, Chairman
  131. Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms, Wojtek Kalinowski, Co-Director
  132. SumOfUs, Leyla Larbi, Senior Campaigner
  133. An Taisce-The National Trust for Ireland, Gary Freemantle, Interim CEO
  134. European Geothermal Energy Council (EGEC), Philippe Dumas, Secretary General
  135. ETIP RHC, Marco Calderoni, President
  136. FoE Finland, Tanja Pulliainen, Chairperson
  137. The Shift Project, Matthieu Auzanneau, Executive Director
  138. 350.org, Nicolò Wojewoda, Regional Director
  139. EUREC, Greg Arrowsmith, Secretary General
  140. olish Zero Waste Association, Piotr Barczak, Board Member and Circular Economy Advisor
  141. RED SRL, Luc Pockele, Managing Director
  142. Shecco, Marc Chasserot, CEO
  143. ECCO – The Italian climate change think tank, Luca Bergamaschi, Co-Founder
  144. Red Tree Heritage Institute, Leon Kebe, Director
  145. Legambiente, Edoardo Zanchini, Vice-President Mauro Albrizio, European Affairs Director
  146. Association Défense des Milieux Aquatiques, Philippe Garcia, President
  147. Kyoto Club, Sergio Andreis, President
  148. Mallusk Community Action Group, Richard Gregory, Chairperson
  149. FairFin, Els Lauriks, Coordinator
  150. Creatura Think & Do Tank, Timo Kuusiola, Chair of the Board
  151. Social Ecological Institute, Jolanta Zientek-Varga, Member
  152. International Service for Human Rights, Phil Lynch, Executive Director
  153. Attac Norway, Sondre Molteberg Dalen, Deputy Leader
  154. Bürgerbewegung Finanzwende Magdalena Senn, Sustainable Finance Expert
  155. Extinction Rebellion Poland
  156. Parents for Future Poland

Annex: Excerpts from the IEA Net‐Zero Emissions Scenario (NZE)

  • “Fossil fuel use falls drastically in the Net‐Zero Emissions Scenario (NZE) by 2050, and no new oil and natural gas fields are required beyond those that have already been approved for development.” (Page 99)
  • “In buildings, bans on new fossil fuel boilers need to start being introduced globally in 2025, driving up sales of electric heat pumps’’ (Page 19)
  • ‘’By 2050, electricity provides 66% of energy use in buildings (33% in 2020). Natural gas use for heating drops by 98% in the period to 2050.” (Page 99)
  • “Fossil fuel use in the buildings sector declines by 96% and space heating energy needs by two-thirds to 2050, thanks mainly to energy efficiency gains” (Page 143)
  • ‘’Space heating is transformed in the NZE, with homes heated by natural gas falling from nearly 30% of the total today to less than 0.5% in 2050” (Page 145)
  • “High efficiency electric heat pumps become the primary technology choice for space heating in the NZE” (Page 145)

Open Letter as PDF

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