Climate Change

Energy sector is central to efforts to combat climate change


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.

IEA at COP 28

Our objectives at COP28

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

Explore all of the IEA’s contributions at COP28 on our event page, and learn more about the five pillars in a new commentary from our Executive Director.

Tracking energy sector progress towards the Paris Agreement goal

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. 

Key findings

Oil demand by region in the Stated Policies Scenario, 2000-2050

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Global demand for each fossil fuel is set to peak this decade under today’s policy settings

The combination of growing momentum behind clean energy technologies and structural economic shifts around the world has major implications for fossil fuel use. For the first time, peaks in global demand for coal, oil and natural gas are all visible this decade based on today’s policy settings, according to the IEA’s latest analysis.

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.

Global renewables power capacity in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, 2022 and 2030

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Growth in clean energy technologies is keeping the door open to 1.5 °C

Since 2021, record growth in solar power capacity and electric car sales are in line with a pathway towards net zero emissions globally by mid-century, as are industry plans for the roll-out of new manufacturing capacity for them, according to the latest update of the IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap. This is significant, since those two technologies alone deliver one-third of the emissions reductions between today and 2030 in the roadmap.

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.