At World Economic Forum in Davos, Executive Director calls for greater clean energy investment to tackle energy and climate crises

Decision makers should not use ‘the current situation as an excuse’ to justify large, long-term fossil fuel projects that risk locking in higher emissions for decades to come, Fatih Birol warns

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol met with leaders from government, industry, finance and civil society at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week where he highlighted the need for greater investments in the clean energy transition to address the major global challenges of energy security and climate change.

“The world does not need to choose between the energy crisis and the climate crisis. We can solve both of them with the right investment,” Dr Birol said during a livestreamed dialogue on 23 May with leading government and industry figures including Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck and India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri. Dr Birol urged decision makers “not to lock in our future by using the current situation as an excuse” to justify investments in large, long-term fossil fuel projects that are inconsistent with efforts to reduce global emissions to net zero.

He further underlined the importance of accelerating investments in the clean energy transition, especially in emerging and developing economies, at a press conference on 24 May where he spoke alongside European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, US Special Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry and Engie CEO Catherine MacGregor about how to reach international climate goals while addressing energy security challenges.

Over the course of the World Economic Forum, Dr Birol delivered keynote speeches and other remarks at several high-profile sessions on topics such as energy security, energy transitions in emerging and developing economies, resilience and sustainable growth, the outlook for energy demand, energy utilities, and achieving net zero in heavy industries.

He also held bilateral meetings with a wide range of leaders including President Iván Duque of Colombia, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua, Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla, Indian Petroleum Minister Puri, India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Singapore's Minister for Transport S Iswaran, COP26 President Alok Sharma, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Odile Renaud-Basso and many others.