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LONDON (Reuters) – Global efforts to minimise the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic present an historic opportunity to scale up the technologies needed to speed a transition to cleaner energy, the head of the world’s energy watchdog says. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said support from governments could drive rapid growth in battery and hydrogen technology to help the world to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. “I believe there is an opportunity – and I call it an historic opportunity here,” Birol, an economist who took the helm of the Paris-based IEA in 2015, told Reuters. “The big time is about to come, but they need a push,” he said, adding that the economic stimulus packages being delivered worldwide offer an ideal vehicle for change. After weeks of extraordinary turmoil in oil markets, the IEA – created to ensure steady energy supplies to industrialised countries after the oil crisis in the early 1970s – has emerged as a leading proponent of “green recoveries” from the pandemic. Birol wants governments to broaden support for well-established paths to reducing carbon emissions, such as embracing greater energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy to create jobs […]

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