The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported that ministers and high-level representatives from COP host countries met at its Paris headquarters yesterday (11 February) to review ways the energy sector can meet climate and other sustainability goals.
The speakers included Kwasi Kwarteng, the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth of the United Kingdom, which holds the Presidency of the upcoming COP26 this year; Michał Kurtyka, Poland's Minister of Climate and President of COP24; and Joan Groizard Payeras, Director-General of the Energy Agency at the Ministry for the Ecological Transition of Spain, which hosted the COP25.
The gathering took place a day after the IEA announced that global carbon emissios had stopped growing last year, defying common expectations that they would increase in 2019.
IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol – who chaired the discussions – commented: ‘Without solving the challenge of the energy sector, we have no chance of solving our climate challenge.
‘We want 2019 to be remembered as the year of peak in global emissions and the 2020s as the decade of the decline in emissions. And the energy sector is ready to be part of the solution.’
Dr Birol said that IEA was keen to bring parties together. ‘The debate around climate change is sometimes too heated and there is too much tension between the energy community and the climate change community,’ said Dr Birol. ‘We think this debate needs to be taken in a cool-headed manner. This calls for a grand coalition that brings together all the stakeholders that have a genuine commitment to reducing emissions – governments, industry, financial institutions, international organizations and civil society. Without this grand coalition, it will be very difficult to address this challenge.’
The IEA said that, as part of its effort to ‘bridge the gap between energy and climate goals’ it will be holding the ‘ministerial-level’ IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit on 9 July in Paris.
‘The immediate aim,’ said the IEA, ‘will be to focus on concrete actions to reverse the growth in carbon emissions this decade, focusing on all the fuels and existing technologies that can help achieve that goal in a hurry.’
To prepare the ground, the IEA will publish two studies ahead of the summit. The first will be a World Energy Outlook Special Report that will map out how to cut global energy-related carbon emissions by one-third by 2030. The second will be the newest Energy Technology Perspectives report, which will focus on an energy sector pathway for reaching net-zero emissions, looking in detail into all technology opportunities that could help to reduce emissions in hard to abate sectors.