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Out Friday, the plan calls for immediate actions in the workplace and on the road by advanced economies, which together could reduce oil demand by 2.7 million barrels per day over the next four months. This more than makes up for the potential shortfall of 2.5 million barrels per day resulting from countries like the United States and Canada banning the import of Russian oil in the face of its invasion of Ukraine.
Working from home up to three days a week when possible and avoiding business travel are among the plan’s recommendations. Given that around a third of jobs in advanced economies can be done from home, as evidenced by the pandemic period, the IEA finds that skipping the car journey three days a week can lead to savings of around 500,000 barrels per day in the short term. Workers who collectively skip one day a week at the office can still save 170,000 barrels of oil a day.
Despite the fact that business travel is starting to increase as vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 cases decline, the IEA says avoiding it when alternatives exist is another way to reduce consumption. of petroleum. The group recalls that “premium class passenger journeys consume three times more fuel than those in economy class” due to space requirements. A significant reduction in business travel by two out of five business flights is possible in the short term (and here the agency again points to the pandemic), and would reduce oil consumption by around 260,000 barrels per day.
The agency’s other recommendations mainly concern the transport sector, including some fairly simple fixes, such as reducing speed limits on motorways by at least 10 kilometers per hour and encouraging car-free Sundays. The list also includes accelerating the adoption of electric and more efficient vehicles, which could prove a bigger challenge. (The IEA itself acknowledges that supply chain bottlenecks for semiconductors and other necessities make getting them to consumers a difficult proposition.)
Although the plan does not prioritize surface climate action, the organization – which was founded to help coordinate an international response to the oil crisis of the 1970s – explicitly says that “reducing the use oil should not remain a temporary measure”. Indeed, this is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
“Governments have all the necessary tools at their disposal to reduce demand for oil in the years to come, which would support efforts to both boost energy security and meet vital climate goals,” says the IEA .
The report also does not explicitly state to say Russian oil and gas ban is an opportunity to kick fossil fuels in a bid to protect the climate. But it is not difficult to read this message between the lines.
It’s a story reminiscent of the agency Report June 2020, who explicitly declared that the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying economic crisis were a “unique opportunity” to “put global greenhouse gas emissions into structural decline”. While this speech, which pleaded for countries to rebuild their economies in a more sustainable way, has been largely ignored, maybe – just maybe! — the IEA will be more successful this time.