Executive Director attends G20 meeting in Naples

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IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol attended the very first joint meeting of G20 energy and climate ministers in Naples today and discussed how to achieve net zero emissions while promoting economic prosperity and ensuring energy security at the same time.

The ministerial meeting in Naples, held under the Italian presidency of the G20 and chaired by the Italian Minister for Ecological Transitions, Roberto Cingolani, provided an opportunity for policymakers from the world’s major economies to discuss how to move 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 the contribution of the IEA to inform discussions on sustainable recovery, investment and financing.

Dr Birol made several interventions during the ministerial, stressing the need for urgent critical action and to strengthen international cooperation just 100 days before the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

“My message to the G20 energy and climate leaders today in Naples is clear: a new global energy economy is emerging,” said Dr Birol. “We already have a lot of the technologies we need to get to net zero and we know that innovation can help get the job done. International cooperation is the key to success.

The Executive Director had bilateral meetings with the President of COP26, Alok Sharma; Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque; and, from Japan, Eiichiro Washio, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Yasumasa Nagasaka, Minister of State for Economy, Trade and Industry.

He also had several informal meetings, notably with German Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier; the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Stef Blok; US Under Secretary of Energy Dave Turk; the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Patricia Espinoza and the Argentinian Under-Secretary for Energy Javier Papà.

On Thursday evening, he attended the pre-summit working dinner with Minister President Cingolani, US Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and the Spanish Minister of Ecology, Teresa Ribera.

During the ministerial meeting, Dr Birol gave an overview of the current global energy and climate situation and unveiled the new IEA analysis on sustainable recovery, smart cities and energy security, which were produced in invitation from the Italian Presidency.

Dr Birol reminded the audience that only 2% of Covid-19 recovery spending has gone to sustainable energy, adding that this must increase dramatically if countries are to meet their energy and climate goals. This finding was part of the new Monitoring sustainable recovery, which regularly monitors governments’ fiscal responses to the pandemic.

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