Monday, March 28, 2022

The International Energy Agency and the Blueprint for our Zero Net Emissions Future

While oil prices have moderated somewhat, a recent press release from the International Energy Agency or IEA provides us with a potential roadmap for our zero net emissions future given the so-called climate emergency that is likely to be used as the next excuse to trample what little remains of our freedom.


As background, the IEA was founded in 1974 around the time of the world's first oil crisis with the mission of securing energy supplies, particularly oil.  The IEA's current mission is to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all.  Its founding members are as follows:


Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway (under a special Agreement), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. 


The founding membership was followed by Greece (1976), New Zealand (1977), Australia (1979), Portugal (1981), Finland (1992), France (1992), Hungary (1997), Czech Republic (2001), Republic of Korea (2002), Slovak Republic (2007), Poland (2008), Estonia (2014), and Mexico (2018), bringing the total membership to 31 nations.


Since 2015, the IEA has opened its membership to developing economies.  As such, there are now also association members which include, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.


In addition to being a member of the OECD (i.e. the world's advanced economies), to be a member of the IEA, one must meet the following criteria:


1.) Crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply;

2.) A demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%; Legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis; 

3.) Legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request;

4.) Measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action. An IEA collective action would be initiated in response to a significant global oil supply disruption and would involve IEA Member Countries making additional volumes of crude and/or product available to the global market (either through increasing supply or reducing demand), with each country’s share based on national consumption as part of the IEA total oil consumption.

The IEA's current mission is to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all.


With that background, let's go back to the recent press release dated March 18, 2022, entitled "Emergency measures can quickly cut global oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day, reducing the risk of a damaging supply crunch":

In this press release, the IEA announced that it has provided the world with a new 10-point plan to cut oil demand by 2.7 million BOPD within four months, a move that would offset the loss of oil supplied to the market by Russia.


Here are the ten key actions and the impact to the oil markets:


1.) Reduce speed limits on highways by at least 10 km/h 


Impact: Saves around 290 kb/d of oil use from cars, and an additional 140 kb/d from trucks


2.) Work from home up to three days a week where possible 


Impact: One day a week saves around 170 kb/d; three days saves around 500 kb/d


3.) Car-free Sundays in cities 


Impact: Every Sunday saves around 380 kb/d; one Sunday a month saves 95 kb/d


4.) Make the use of public transport cheaper and incentivise micromobility, walking and cycling 


Impact: Saves around 330 kb/d


5.) Alternate private car access to roads in large cities 


Impact: Saves around 210 kb/d


6.) Increase car sharing and adopt practices to reduce fuel use 


Impact: Saves around 470 kb/d


7.) Promote efficient driving for freight trucks and delivery of goods 


Impact: Saves around 320 kb/d


8.) Using high-speed and night trains instead of planes where possible 


Impact: Saves around 40 kb/d


9.) Avoid business air travel where alternative options exist 


Impact: Saves around 260 kb/d


10.) Reinforce the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles 


Impact: Saves around 100 kb/d

Some of these suggestions could easily have been taken from the climate change proponents playbook and could well provide a template for government actions when it comes to clamping down on carbon emissions.  The suggestions involving working from home three days per week, car-free Sundays (or any other day or or any number of days for that matter) and alternate private car access to the road infrastructure in large cities all have an odour of totalitarianism should they become mandatory.   As well, the suggestion that car sharing should be increased along with the potential all-encompassing "adopt(ing) practices to reduce fuel use" could, at some point in the future, provide the ruling class with just the ammunition it needs to reduce vehicle ownership which plays right into the "you don't own anything but are happy" narrative.  It is also interesting to see that avoiding business air travel when alternative options exist is recommended particularly given that the global ruling class (oligarchs and politicians included) seem to find it necessary to have face-to-face meetings with their peers while the rest of the sweaty masses deal with Zoom and other virtual meeting technology.  


Given that Western governments that have used the pandemic as an excuse to impose totalitarian restrictions on their citizenry that we could not have imagined being a reality two short years ago, in my mind, it is not a stretch to think that the IEA's plan for reducing oil consumption in light of the Ukraine - Russia conflict could form at least part of the blueprint for our so-called "zero net emissions" future.  And, again I say, today's conspiracy theory is tomorrow's reality.

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