New IEA report makes immediately ending support for new oil and gas a credibility test for insurers

October 13, 2021

In its new World Energy Outlook (WEO), the International Energy Agency (IEA) confirmed the conclusion of its May 2021 Net Zero by 2050 report. The IEA found that in a Net-Zero Emissions scenario – the main normative scenario of the WEO – “no fossil fuel exploration is required and no new oil and natural gas fields are required beyond those that have already been approved for development.”

The WEO defines a clear yardstick by which the credibility of the climate commitments of insurance companies and other financial institutions can be measured. It finds that the rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy would not only help to limit global warming to 1.5C; it would also prevent 2.2 million premature deaths from fossil fuel pollution per year, create more jobs and support more widespread access to electricity than continued support for fossil fuels. 

The new IEA report puts the credibility of oil and gas insurers on the line. Four founding members of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance – Allianz, AXA, Munich Re and Zurich – are among the biggest insurers of the oil and gas industry, with a combined market share of more than 20%. 

Peter Bosshard, Coordinator, Insure Our Future: “Insurance companies need to follow the science. Insure Our Future calls on all insurers, particularly members of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance, to publicly support the findings of the IEA and make a binding commitment by COP26 that they will immediately stop insuring all new oil and gas projects. We will measure their climate credibility not by lofty long-term commitments but by the short-term action they take in line with the IEA’s findings.”

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