Global leaders pledge to strengthen energy security and accelerate transitions to keep 1.5 °C target alive

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Energy leaders from around the world met in Paris this week for the International Energy Agency’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting and 50th Anniversary.

Energy leaders from around the world have delivered a powerful consensus on the need for bolder action and greater global cooperation to swiftly transform the world’s energy system, with geopolitical uncertainty on the rise and global temperatures continuing to break records.

The joint call came as energy leaders from around the world met in Paris this week for the International Energy Agency’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting and 50th Anniversary. Co-chaired by France and Ireland, the agenda for the meeting of global ministers included IEA’s membership talks with India, opening a regional centre in Singapore, launching a critical minerals security programme, and leading on implementation of COP28 outcomes. The meeting also produced a strong commitment to safeguard energy security while speeding up clean energy transitions to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C within reach.

Implementing COP28 outcomes

The meeting of energy and climate ministers represented close to 50 countries – which was co-chaired by Irish Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan and French Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty Bruno Le Maire. Special guests included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

The major gathering of high-level energy decision makers took place just a few months after the COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai, where nearly 200 governments reached a key agreement on energy and climate issues. This included the new 2030 global goals – aligned with the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – of transitioning away from fossil fuels, tripling renewable energy capacity, doubling energy efficiency progress and reducing methane emissions.

At the meeting in Paris, ministers from the IEA’s 31 member countries laid out a series of mandates in a joint communiqué that will guide the agency’s mission going forward. The mandates cover areas such as ensuring global energy security, with ministers recognising the threat posed by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East; marshalling the global energy sector’s fight against climate change; and boosting global financial flows for clean energy transitions, especially in emerging and developing economies.

Shaping energy and climate policy

Noting the agency’s “significant input to global energy and climate policy” under Executive Director Fatih Birol – and commending work in recent years to deepen the IEA’s relationships with developing economies, with the IEA Family of countries now representing almost 80% of global GDP – the ministers called upon the IEA to “continue to put climate change and sustainable development along with energy security at the centre of its activities and analysis.”

In the joint communiqué, IEA ministers recognised the significant focus on energy in the outcomes of COP28 and directed the IEA to take a leading role in ensuring their implementation. “We call upon the IEA to continue to track and report our delivery against key commitments, identifying barriers to progress, and providing members and the wider global community with recommendations on how to accelerate our national secure, clean energy transitions,” they said.

India as a full IEA member

In a major announcement, IEA ministers also mandated the start of discussions with India in response to the Indian government’s request for full IEA membership in October 2023. Ministers recognised the “strategic importance” of India in tackling global energy and climate challenges. India joined the IEA Family as an Association country in 2017.

“India is the world’s fastest growing major economy. Sustained growth needs energy security and sustainability,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said in a video address to attendees at the Ministerial Meeting. “I am sure that the IEA will benefit when India plays a bigger role in it.”

New IEA centre in Singapore

In line with the IEA’s efforts to deepen its engagement with emerging and developing economies, IEA ministers and the Singaporean government announced the establishment of a new IEA regional centre in Singapore to increase the Agency’s engagement and impact across Southeast Asia and beyond. The Ministerial Meeting also presented an opportunity for members to invite Latvia to become the 32nd member of the IEA and to welcome Costa Rica as the IEA’s newest Accession country.

Energy and climate leadership

“This meeting saw governments from around the world commend the IEA’s energy and climate leadership over the past 50 years. And they made it very clear that they’re counting on us to be even more impactful in the future,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

“The IEA has received clear mandates from its members. We will redouble our efforts to lead the fight against climate change in the energy sector, while ensuring the security of global energy supplies and working to increase energy access throughout the transition.”

Historic mandate

“I would like to say how proud we are to host the International Energy Agency in Paris. Proud because since the oil crisis that led to the creation of the Agency in 1974, international cooperation on energy issues has never ceased to be an absolute necessity,” President Emmanuel Macron of France told attendees in a video message.

“We are also very proud that since its creation, the agency has been able to profoundly shift its mandate. From an agency dedicated to managing strategic oil reserves, it has now become a global hub for debate and collective action to meet the challenge of the energy transition.”

“Fifty years is a massive milestone. So much has changed in the past five decades. Today, with energy insecurity and climate change now immediate global realities, your work has never been more important. It is central to shaping a secure and sustainable energy future for all,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland said in a video address. “Special thanks to Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol and his team for providing advice and support to leaders and policy makers.”

Oil supply security

Ministers at the meeting noted the continued importance of oil supply security to the global economy, and emphasised the key role played by the IEA’s oil stockholding system. They also directed the IEA to develop a framework to advance the objectives that have been laid out for a voluntary IEA Critical Minerals Security Programme, which would look to boost the security of the supply chains for the crucial minerals needed for clean energy technologies.

And they called on the IEA to continue its strong work on expanding energy access and affordability, including for clean cooking; on advancing just, people-centred transitions to build a more inclusive energy economy; and on increasing clean energy investment in emerging and developing economies, where high borrowing costs and difficulty accessing capital are restraining energy transitions.

Delivering clean energy

“The IEA wants to deliver secure and sustainable clean energy transitions for all people around the world,” Dr Birol said. “We are grateful that IEA ministers commended our work on ensuring transitions are equitable and people-centred, and that they instructed us to go further. We intend to amplify our efforts to keep energy justice at the top of the global agenda, given the essential role it plays in building a better energy future.”


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