Members of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance have called on the International Energy Agency (IEA) to include a fully developed standalone 1.5°C scenario in the 2021 edition of its influential global energy outlook.
A statement from the 33-strong group, understood to reflect a letter sent to IEA executive director Fatih Birol, takes into account certain advancements laid out in the agency’s latest World Energy Outlook (WEO), with the investors welcoming the inclusion of a net-zero by 2050 case, in addition to other “material shifts”.
Referred to as NZE2050, the case extends the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario and, according to the IEA, includes the organisation’s first detailed modelling of what would be needed in the next 10 years to put global CO2 emissions on track for net-zero by 2050.
In their statement, the alliance members said the new NZE2050 supplemental scenario “is expected to be a useful tool in shifting alignment to net-zero by 2050”.
“At the same time,” they continued, “in order to adequately serve the pressing needs of investors, companies and policymakers, it is essential to build out NZE2050 in WEO 2021 as a standalone scenario going out to 2050 (building from the current iteration that extends only to 2030) with a full set of accompanying data.”
Echoing at least some previous requests from environmental groups and investors, specific asks from the alliance members include that the IEA make a 1.5°C-aligned NZE2050 scenario central to the WEO, and that the scenario be calibrated for alignment with a halving of emissions by 2030, in line with findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The alliance members also said the scenario should be extended out to 2050, “and take a clear-eyed view of the risks of stranding of high-carbon infrastructure and reserves as well as the implications for oil and gas developments – specifically including the need for managed phase-down of production and use, in parallel with actions to support a just transition”.
Citing growth in the number of jurisdictions embracing net-zero targets and the climate change-related intentions of the incoming Biden-Harris administration in the US, the investors said “the imperative” to fully develop a robust and central 1.5°C scenario “has never been clearer than it is now”.
In a recent progress report, the investor engagement initiative Climate Action 100+ noted that the IEA had not yet provided its net-zero analysis at a more detailed, sectorial level, which was a requirement to assess companies’ alignment across a range of sectors.