By Matthew Green
LONDON (Reuters) – International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Friday that governments should put renewable energy at the heart of economic rescue packages launched in response to the coronavirus outbreak to avoid a rebound in carbon emissions.
“Putting clean energy at the heart of stimulus plans is an excellent strategy for revitalising economies while building a more secure and sustainable energy future,” Birol said after co-hosting an online global ministerial meeting with Denmark.
“It is crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Although emissions fell as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, they soon rebounded sharply. We must learn from that experience,” Birol said in a statement.
Birol had earlier co-chaired an online meeting with Danish climate minister Dan Joergensen to discuss ways governments could pursue “green recoveries” to accelerate a transition to a low-carbon future while creating jobs and reviving economies.
“All of the countries that participated, institutions that participated, agreed that we need to do this in the right way, we need to see this as an opportunity for making green investments,” Joergensen told Reuters.
Participants included Frans Timmermans, the European Union’s climate commissioner; Indian power minister R.K. Singh; and ministers from countries including France, Germany, Sweden, Britain, New Zealand and Indonesia. Representatives of Australia and other countries also took part.
(Reporting by Matthew Green; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)