IEA head urges Germany to embrace its role as global energy transition leader
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Germany could play a decisive role in the global transition to renewable energy, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. “I think it would be very good if Germany were to become more active internationally in order to create more momentum for climate protection, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Birol told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “It's not just about financial aid, it's also about diplomacy,” he added, expressing hope that Germany’s next foreign minister would address climate protection when meeting foreign counterparts.
Birol said Germany's leading role in the energy transition could be of great advantage for the country. It was not only a question of behaving responsibly, but also about securing a leading position in the new green economy, he added, noting that the markets in a climate-neutral world will be larger than those in today's industrial world. “A new global energy management system is currently emerging. And there will be competition for leadership in this new world. If Germany now sets the course for green hydrogen and electric cars, it will not only lower CO2 emissions, but also make the German economy future-proof.”
Birol also welcomed the possibility that Germany’s next government may seek to exit coal earlier than the current 2038 deadline. A much earlier coal exit “would be important for its reputation as a country that is an international leader in climate protection. And it would also be correct for reasons of fairness: If you appeal to emerging countries to stop using coal-based electricity, then Germany should also officially confirm that it will phase it out before 2038. I hope that will happen soon.”