The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ashley Siefert Nunes,

IEA Report Reaffirms Need to Sharply Phase Down Fossil Fuels to Meet Global Climate Goals, Signals World Currently Far Off Track

Statement by Rachel Cleetus at the Union of Concerned Scientists


The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual World Energy Outlook report today, which analyzes the global energy supply and demand under different scenarios and what that means for energy security, climate targets and economic development. The report also includes new scenarios looking at the impact of countries' announced emission reduction pledges ahead of this year's annual U.N. climate talks (COP26), as well as how to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Below is a statement by Dr. Rachel Cleetus, a policy director in the Climate and Energy Program and a lead economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Dr. Cleetus has been attending the U.N.'s international climate talks and partnered with the international community on climate and energy policies for more than 14 years.

"The latest IEA report reaffirms that a sharp, rapid turn away from fossil fuels is critical to limit climate change, which is already causing devastating impacts across the globe and disrupting our energy system. The world is currently far off track, with an unsustainable economic recovery set to drive the second largest annual increase in carbon emissions this year. Soberingly, the emission reduction pledges announced by countries to date are highly insufficient to meet global climate goals. There's no time to waste for governments to implement bold policies and make robust investments that will drive deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions within this decade and beyond. Ensuring a fair transition for dislocated fossil fuel industry workers and cleaning up legacy fossil fuel pollution must go hand-in-hand with creating a thriving, equitable and safe clean energy economy. We can't afford to let the fossil fuel industry and its political allies stymie the changes our energy system and economy require, as people around the world continue to face worsening floods, wildfires, droughts, heatwaves and storms."

In addition to Dr. Cleetus, the following UCS experts are also available to comment on the report:

  • Dr. Edwin Lyman, the director of nuclear power safety at UCS. Click here to view his biography.
  • Julie McNamara, a senior energy analyst at UCS. Click here to view her biography.

To talk to Dr. Cleetus or another UCS expert, please contact UCS Climate and Energy Media Manager Ashley Siefert Nunes.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.