Amid Danger Signs, A Global Energy Leader Finds Reason for Hope

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A woman and children walk past a coal-fired power plant in Chhattisgarh, India. For more than a decade, Fatih Birol has consistently warned that the world is moving far too slowly to wean itself off fossil fuels. Two weeks ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) added its latest admonition: Global CO2 emissions this year are expected to experience their second-largest increase on record. Last week, Birol spoke to President Biden’s climate summit and, after listening to world leaders once again vow to slash emissions, the IEA’s executive director said, “Right now the data does not match the rhetoric — and the gap is getting wider.” Fatih Birol IEA In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Birol leavened his concern over still-rising CO2 emissions with a note of optimism. He talked about the need to begin phasing out coal in three key Asian countries (China, India, and Indonesia) and slashing methane emissions in the U.S., discussed the essential role the Biden administration must play in the climate fight, and explained why policymakers must send an “unmistakable signal” to businesses that investments in clean-energy technologies — not fossil fuels — will be the winners. “[Decarbonization] is not only a drive to […]

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