BERLIN – Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, traveled to Germany today to speak at the opening of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD). This annual event brings together key energy-sector stakeholders to share expertise and experience on a “safe, affordable and environmentally responsible global energy transition.”
In his keynote address, Dr Birol highlighted the IEA’s recent announcement that CO2 emissions are still on the rise, driven by the fastest growth in energy demand over the last ten years.
“The pace and scale of the global clean energy transition is not in line with climate targets, “ said Dr Birol. “Energy-related emissions are on the rise again, and we’re seeing an increasing disconnect between climate ambitions and what is actually happening in markets.”
Underlining the IEA’s commitment to driving action on secure, affordable and sustainable energy for all, the IEA and IRENA agreed to step up collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Dr Birol also held a range of bilateral discussions with Ministers from Germany, Africa, Chile, Switzerland, Iraq and Colombia.
As in previous years at the BETD, the IEA launched Perspectives for the Clean Energy Transition – The Critical Role of Buildings, prepared with the support of the German government. An often overlooked sector, buildings play a critical role in the energy system as they account for about a third of total final energy consumption and energy-related emissions globally. Buildings also have very long lifetimes that can impact energy and emissions for 50 years or more.
The report warns of a serious lock-in as countries without mandatory codes are expected to see an explosion of building construction, half of which will be built already by the early 2030s, potentially locking in inefficient buildings for decades to come. Mandatory building energy codes have been adopted across North America, Europe and China, while India is working to expand its existing codes, and some African countries are working to put codes in place.