OPEC says IEA estimate of peak fossil fuel demand by 2030 not 'fact-based'
(Reuters) - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said on Thursday data-based forecasts do not support the International Energy Agency's projection that demand for fossil fuels would peak in 2030.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in an op-ed in the Financial Times on Tuesday that new IEA estimates show "this age of seemingly relentless growth is set to come to an end this decade, bringing with it significant implications for the global energy sector and the fight against climate change."
OPEC, de facto led by top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, in its statement on Thursday said what made the projections "so dangerous" is they are often accompanied by calls to stop new oil and gas investments.
"Such narratives only set the global energy system up to fail spectacularly," OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais said in the statement.
"It would lead to energy chaos on a potentially unprecedented scale, with dire consequences for economies and billions of people across the world."
OPEC said the projections do not factor ongoing technological progress by the oil and gas industry to cut emissions and that 80% of the world's energy mix comes from fossil fuels, the same as three decades ago.
"Based only on today's policy settings by governments worldwide — even without any new climate policies — demand for each of the three fossil fuels is set to hit a peak in the coming years. This is the first time that a peak in demand is visible for each fuel this decade — earlier than many people anticipated," Birol said in his op-ed.
But he added the forecasted decline was "nowhere near steep enough" to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the more ambitious target nations agreed to under the Paris climate agreement.
"Cognizant of the challenge facing the world to eliminate energy poverty, meet rising energy demand, and ensure affordable energy while reducing emissions, OPEC does not dismiss any energy sources or technologies, and believes that all stakeholders should do the same and recognize short- and long-term energy realities," Al Ghais said in the OPEC statement.