Work from home and reduce speed limits: IEA publishes 10-point plan to cut oil use

The International Energy Agency has proposed 10 actions countries can take to reduce oil demand

<p>London commuters cycle into work</p>

London commuters cycle into work

Reduce speed limits. Work from home. Opt for trains not planes where possible.

These are among the recommendations published on Friday by the International Energy Agency to cut oil use in response to the emerging global energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Oil and gas prices have soared in the wake of the invasion feeding into a broader cost-of-living crisis in Britain.

The Paris-based IEA has proposed a 10-point plan that can be implemented by advanced economies to reduce oil demand, ease the squeeze on household budgets, reduce Russia’s hydrocarbon revenues and help make oil demand more sustainable.

If fully implemented by these countries, the plan would lower oil demand by 2.7 million barrels a day within four months – the equivalent to the oil demand of all the cars in China, according to the IEA’s analysis.

The recommendations include reducing speed limits on highways by at least 10km per hour (just over 6 miles per hour), working from home up to three days per week where possible, introducing car-free Sundays in cities, making public transport cheaper and opting for trains instead of planes where possible. The agency said the 10-point plan focuses on transport because the majority of oil demand comes from the sector.

“As a result of Russia’s appalling aggression against Ukraine, the world may well be facing its biggest oil supply shock in decades, with huge implications for our economies and societies,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol, in a statement.

“IEA Member Countries have already stepped in to support the global economy with an initial release of millions of barrels of emergency oil stocks, but we can also take action on demand to avoid the risk of a crippling oil crunch.”

In a Tweet Friday, Birol said national governments should take the lead but that some measures can be carried out by regions, cities, citizens and companies.

The new report includes recommendations for countries to move beyond the “short-term emergency actions” included in the 10-point plan to longer-term measures that would put their oil demand into a “structural decline” in line with goals to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. These include accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles, as well as heat pump rollouts and producing more sustainable plastic.

“Sustained reductions are desirable in order not only to improve energy security but also to tackle climate change and reduce air pollution,” the report says.

The report said sticking to elements of the 10-point plan can temper oil demand in the longer-term. But it added that governments must also consider accelerating their transition to clean energy and building on their net zero emissions strategies.

Boris Johnson is expected to set out an energy security strategy in the coming days, after the government announced last week it would phase out imports of Russian oil, which make up some 8 per cent of UK demand, by the end of next year.

The decision has sparked debate over how the country should replace Russian imports. Some Conservative backbenchers have amplified calls for the UK to support fracking and to expand North Sea exploration, while climate activists and energy analysts have called for the government to accelerate its transition to renewables and better insulate British buildings.

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