IEA Executive Director and China's Special Envoy on Climate Change herald closer ties at COP21

4 December 2015

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol (right) and Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, at the COP21 talks on 4 December 2015.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, celebrated growing IEA-Chinese co-operation when they met on 4 December 2015 at the UN climate talks in Paris.

"China is the most important player in the global energy market," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the China-IEA High Level Side Event at the COP21 negotiations, adding, "Our work with China lies at the centre of almost every work stream at the IEA."

"This is only the start of a great relationship with China,” he concluded.

Mr. Xie said, "I look forward to closer co-operation between China and the IEA."

"China is working towards an energy revolution,” he added, saying, "We are launching the new wave of the energy revolution. In the future, low-carbon energy will make up a major share of the energy mix."

Other speakers at the event included Keisuke Sadamori, IEA Director for Energy Markets and Security, who discussed the role of renewables in limiting climate change with a focus on China and international co-operation, and Kamel Ben Naceur, IEA Director for Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology, who addressed energy access in Asia and its implications for China's climate policy.

Dr. Birol and Mr. Xie discussed further IEA-China co-operation during a dinner that evening hosted by the Executive Director. 

The IEA-China interaction at COP21 came two weeks after the IEA Ministerial meeting, also in Paris, where China activated Association status with the Agency. Administrator Nur Bekri (Nuer Baikeli) of the China National Energy Administration attended the biennial event, where he held a separate meeting with Dr. Birol. Also at the Ministerial was Chairman Liu Zhenya of State Grid Corporation of China, the largest utility in the world. 

The China-IEA High Level Side Event was one of a host of activities the IEA is hosting or taking part in at the two-week-long COP21 talks aimed at an accord to limit global warming.