The IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol attended the first-ever joint meeting of G20 energy and climate ministers in Naples today and discussed how to achieve net-zero emissions while fostering economic prosperity and ensuring energy security at the same time.
The Naples Ministerial, held under the G20 presidency of Italy and chaired by Italian Ecological Transitions Minister Roberto Cingolani, was an opportunity for policy makers from the world’s leading economies to discuss how to transition to clean and sustainable energy systems. The Italian Presidency had invited the IEA to be a strategic partner for its work on energy and climate, and had requested input from the IEA to inform discussions on sustainable recovery, investment and finance.
Dr Birol made several interventions during the Ministerial, stressing the need for urgent critical action and reinforced international cooperation just 100 days ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
“My message to G20 energy and climate leaders today in Naples is clear: A new global energy economy is emerging,” Dr Birol said. “We already have many of the technologies we need to reach net zero and we know innovation can help finish the job. International cooperation is key to succeed.”
The Executive Director had bilateral meetings with COP26 President Alok Sharma; Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque; and, from Japan, Eiichiro Washio, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Yasumasa Nagasaka, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
He also had several pull-aside meetings, including with Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier; the Netherlands’ Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Stef Blok; US Deputy Energy Secretary Dave Turk; the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinoza and Argentina’s Undersecretary for Energy Javier Papà.
On Thursday evening, he attended the pre-summit working dinner with Chair Minister Cingolani, the US Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Japan’s Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and Spanish Ecology Minister, Teresa Ribera.
At the Ministerial, Dr Birol provided an overview of the current global energy and climate situation and unveiled the IEA’s new analysis on sustainable recovery, smart cities and energy security, which were produced at the invitation of the Italian Presidency.
Dr Birol reminded the audience that only 2% of recovery spending from Covid-19 has gone to sustainable energy, adding that this must rise significantly if countries were going to meet their energy and climate targets. This finding was part of the IEA’s new Sustainable Recovery Tracker, which monitors regularly governments’ fiscal responses to the pandemic.