IEA reappoints Fatih Birol as executive director for third term

Agency said it will accelerate efforts to speed up transition to clean energy under his tenure

Fatih Birol has served as the International Energy Agency’s executive director since September 2015. EPA

The governing board of the International Energy Agency voted unanimously to reappoint Fatih Birol as executive director for a third term as the Paris-based organisation steps up efforts to accelerate the global clean energy transition.

His reappointment comes at a pivotal moment for the agency amid heightened awareness that clean energy transitions must not only be rapid but also secure, the clean energy watchdog said in a statement on its website on Friday.

“I’m honoured that IEA members have put their trust in me to lead the agency into a new era following what I believe may turn out to be the most consequential ministerial meeting in the IEA’s near 50-year history,” Mr Birol said.

Quote
The energy world is changing fast and needs to change faster still
Fatih Birol, executive director of- the International Energy Agency

“The energy world is changing fast and needs to change faster still. With our new mandates, we are now ready to respond and chart a new course for the IEA, not just for the next two years but for decades to come.”

The agency has been urging countries to increase investments in clean energy and to stop investing in polluting fuels such as coal.

Consumption of oil is set to decline to 75 million barrels per day from 100 million bpd, the agency said. The decline will be made possible if countries continue their efforts to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century, in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, it added.

The vote to reappoint Mr Birol took place during the 2022 agency ministerial meeting. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm led the two-day meeting that brought together energy and climate ministers from more than 40 countries, the statement said.

“Our decision today for an additional term for Birol as IEA executive director again confirms our confidence in his skills and expertise,” said Ms Granholm.

“We look forward to working with the IEA under his continued leadership as we ramp up efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition on the road to a net-zero future while strengthening our energy security.”

Mr Birol has served as the agency's executive director since September 2015.

Under his leadership, the agency has been instrumental in underpinning a significant increase in global climate ambition and in responding to new vulnerabilities and risks to energy security, the statement said.

Mr Birol also heads the World Economic Forum’s energy advisory board, the agency said.

Last year, Time magazine included him on its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is also the recipient of numerous state decorations, including the French Legion of Honour, which he was awarded earlier this year, the agency added.

“This sets the organisation up perfectly to deliver on the commitments laid out in the 2022 IEA ministerial communique and plays a key role in accelerating sustainable and secure clean energy transitions,” said Hiroshi Oe, chairman of the agency's governing board.

New mandates in the 2022 ministerial communique will allow the agency to evolve in its mission and impact, including by ensuring energy security during the energy transition, leading the global energy sector’s fight against climate change and strengthening the agency's family of governments, the statement said.

The agency said on Thursday that its members are ready to release more oil into the market “if needed” to tackle soaring prices following Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Updated: March 25, 2022, 2:42 PM
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