Secretary-General Urges Bold Action to Speed Up Renewable Revolution, Phase Out Fossil Fuels in Fiftieth Anniversary Message for International Energy Agency

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the International Energy Agency fiftieth anniversary celebration, in Paris today: 

I congratulate the women and men of the International Energy Agency on your fiftieth anniversary.  And I want to recognize and thank Executive Director Fatih Birol.  Under his strong and insightful leadership, the International Energy Agency has carved out a critical role at the heart of the renewables revolution.

The work of the International Energy Agency is shaping public debate; supporting a just, sustainable energy transition; and showing how net zero can and must become reality.  Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C ultimately depends on putting an end to fossil fuels.

And the International Energy Agency has shown the astonishing speed at which renewables prices are falling, and renewables roll out is happening. The work of the IEA is helping to demonstrate that the phase out of fossil fuels is both economically inevitable and environmentally essential.  The end of the fossil fuel era is assured.

The only questions are:  Will we move fast enough to limit the worst of climate chaos?  And will the transition to renewables be fair, just and equitable?  It is up to all of us to ensure the answer to both these questions is yes.

Every person on earth must be connected to clean, affordable power by 2030.  And every community and country must benefit from the transition to clean, cheap renewables.  Today, too many emerging and developing economies are being left behind.

We need G20 [Group of 20] countries to lead a rapid phase out of fossil fuels.  We need finance to flow to renewables — particularly by reforming the business models of multilateral development banks to leverage far more private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries.

And we need all countries to implement the commitments made at COP28 [twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]:  To triple global renewables capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030; To accelerate the move away from fossil fuels this decade;  And to create ambitious new economy-wide national climate plans aligned with the 1.5°C limit, by 2025.

As we look ahead, the International Energy Agency’s continued analysis, advice and coordination will be essential — throughout this crucial decade and beyond.  The next 18 months are vital.

And I invite the International Energy Agency to intensify technical support to countries preparing the next round of national climate action plans.  Help them create ambitious, practical plans that are a magnet for private investment.  And urge them to back those plans up with credible climate policies — from regulations that support investment, to placing an effective price on carbon, to putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

The clean energy future is coming.  As we celebrate half a century of the International Energy Agency, let’s commit to harnessing your spirit of cooperation to bring that future into being faster.

For information media. Not an official record.