Our current energy system is a major driver of global warming, accounting for about 75% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This means transforming how we produce and consume energy is essential, with the world’s ability to meet its climate goals hinging on the energy sector’s ability to reach net zero emissions by mid-century. As temperatures break records year after year, the case for action has never been stronger.
The rapid growth of some clean energy technologies – including electric cars, solar PV, batteries and heat pumps – has kept the door open to limiting the rise in the global average temperature to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, the target set by the Paris Agreement to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Yet to meet this goal, much faster progress is needed on a much larger scale, according to IEA analysis. This will require even greater international co-operation and ambition from policy makers.
As the global authority on energy, the IEA works to support leaders across government, the private sector and civil society as they advance clean energy transitions. By delivering expert analysis, data, policy advice and real-world solutions, the Agency aims to drive progress in the fight against climate change and shape a more secure, sustainable and equitable energy future.
The IEA is a key contributor to the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) taking place under the Presidency of the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai.
The Agency has set out five central pillars for action between now and 2030 that form the foundation of a successful COP28, based on analysis in our flagship World Energy Outlook:
- Triple global renewable power capacity
- Double the rate of energy efficiency improvements
- Commitments by the fossil fuel industry, and oil and gas companies in particular, to align activities with the Paris Agreement, starting by cutting methane emissions from operations by 75%
- Establish large-scale financing mechanisms to triple clean energy investment in emerging and developing economies
- Commit to measures that ensure an orderly decline in the use of fossil fuels, including an end to new approvals of unabated coal-fired power plants
The IEA is tracking important data and delivering analyses on the speed and pace of global clean energy transitions to inform the Global Stocktake process tied to the 2015 Paris Agreement. (The first Global Stocktake will conclude at COP28.) This includes data and analysis on clean energy technology sales and supply chains, energy access, energy-sector emissions, government spending, and more.
The Agency has also published a new Climate Pledges Explorer to track Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are part of the terms of the Paris Agreement, as well as net-zero targets for each country. The tool, which lays out what each country’s NDC implies for energy sector emissions, will be updated periodically.
IEA analysis finds that the most recent NDCs would shave 5 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions off previous targets, and now indicate that energy sector carbon emissions from fuel combustion will peak this decade. However, ambition remains insufficient to align with countries’ own net zero pledges or a global 1.5 °C pathway. Bolder commitments are essential for the next round of NDCs towards 2035, which will be informed by the outcomes of the first Global Stocktake from COP28.
Global demand for each fossil fuel is set to peak this decade under today’s policy settings
Projections in the World Energy Outlook 2023 show the share of fossil fuels in global energy supply, which has been stuck for decades at around 80%, declining to 73% by 2030 under today’s policy settings, with global energy-related CO2 emissions peaking by the mid-2020s. However, if demand for these fossil fuels remains at such a high level, it is far from enough to reach global climate goals. The IEA’s net zero emissions pathway sees fossil fuel demand falling by more than 25% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
Growth in clean energy technologies is keeping the door open to 1.5 °C
Yet bolder action is necessary this decade. In the IEA’s updated net zero pathway, global renewable power capacity triples by 2030. Meanwhile, the annual rate of energy efficiency improvements doubles, sales of electric vehicles and heat pumps rise sharply, and energy sector methane emissions fall by 75%. These strategies, which are based on proven and often cost-effective technologies for lowering emissions, together deliver more than 80% of the reductions needed by the end of the decade.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy Data Explorer
Understanding the contributions of specific fuels and sectors to GHG emissions associated with combustion of fuels from 1971 to 2021 for over 205 countries and 38 regions
The Evolution of Energy Efficiency Policy to Support Clean Energy Transitions
Now is the time to climate-proof Europe’s economy
Data tool gives fine-grained view of climate vulnerabilities in the energy system and beyond
The Imperative of Cutting Methane from Fossil Fuels
An assessment of the benefits for the climate and health
Net Zero Roadmap: A Global Pathway to Keep the 1.5 °C Goal in Reach
Breakthrough Agenda Report 2023
Financing Clean Energy in Africa
World Energy Outlook Special Report
Implementing Clean Energy Transitions
Focus on road transport in emerging economies