GOP leaders open joint probe into global energy group influencing net-zero policies in US

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FIRST ON FOX: Republican leaders in the Senate and House have opened a joint probe into the International Energy Agency (IEA), a powerful group with influence on major global decarbonization policies.

In a letter late Wednesday to IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the Paris-based group has strayed in recent years from its core mission of “promoting energy security.” They warned that IEA’s actions threaten to harm the group’s reputation for impartiality.

“We would argue that in recent years the IEA has been undermining energy security by discouraging sufficient investment in energy supplies,” Barrasso and McMorris Rodgers wrote in the letter. “Moreover, its energy modeling no longer provides policymakers with balanced assessments of energy and climate proposals. Instead, it has become an ‘energy transition’ cheerleader.”

“Until recently, the IEA has served as a valuable source of reliable information on the security of oil markets, and has provided a mechanism whereby oil-consuming countries can respond effectively to oil shortages,” they continued. “Consequently, the IEA must conduct its energy security mission in an objective manner. We believe the IEA is failing to fulfill these responsibilities.”


Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., right, are pictured.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. (Getty Images/File)

Barrasso and McMorris Rodgers noted that the Biden administration cited IEA forecasts, rather than internal studies, when justifying its recent action to pause new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects, a move heavily criticized by many in the U.S. energy industry.

Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk, who previously served as a leader at the IEA, confirmed the administration’s reliance on IEA forecasts last month, which the two GOP lawmakers characterized as “deeply troubling.”


“To defend the indefensible, the Biden administration trots out its ostensible fear that more LNG export capacity may be built than is needed,” the pair continued in their letter to Birol. “The basis of that fear is the IEA’s unrealistic modeling. Decisions about future LNG export capacity should be left up to market participants and investors, not politicians or bureaucrats.”

Executive director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol delivers a speech during the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2024 ministerial meeting and 50th Anniversary event, in Paris on February 13, 2024. Energy and climate ministers from around the world will meet in Paris on February 13 and 14 for the IEA's 2024 Ministerial Meeting to take stock of the latest developments in energy markets, policies and transitions, and to set the Agency's strategic direction for the coming years. (Photo by Ian LANGSDON / AFP) (Photo by IAN LANGSDON/AFP via Getty Images)

International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol (Ian Langsdon/AFP via Getty Images/File)

According to the IEA, it was founded in 1974 amid the global oil crisis to help coordinate the international response to oil supply disruptions. But in recent years, Republicans have criticized it for changing direction by placing a large emphasis on pursuing decarbonization policies and “building net-zero emissions energy systems to comply with internationally agreed climate goals” – a quote from the Barrasso-McMorris Rodgers letter. 

And in 2021, the IEA published a Net Zero Roadmap report that the GOP pair described as “long on aspiration, but short on the things that matter most to policymakers.”


At the same time, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists the IEA as a key partner on policy analysis and facilitating energy security and technical cooperation. Several senior DOE staff also represent the U.S. on various IEA committees.

Barrasso and McMorris Rodgers concluded their letter by listing a series of questions for Birol to answer about his group’s activities and energy research.

The IEA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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