IEA Executive Director and China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change herald closer ties at COP21
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. For instance, on Sunday, 6 December, Deputy Executive Director Paul Simons, along with the ministers for the environmental portfolio from New Zealand, Sweden and Luxembourg, attended a dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group Secretariat on the topic of the confluence of fossil fuel subsidies and carbon pricing. Earlier in the day, Mr. Ben Naceur spoke at the Innovating for the Future panel discussion of the Renewable Energy: Energising the Future High-Level event.
The highlight of IEA activities at COP21 for Tuesday, 8 December, is the Lima-Paris Action Agenda Innovation Action Day series of presentations introduced by Dr. Birol and Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius of France. Dr. Birol will lead the session Delivering Innovation through Co-operation, whose speakers include Dr. Moniz; Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change; Tsuyoshi Hoshino, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan; and Maroš Šefcovic, Vice-President for the Energy Union, European Commission. Mr. Ben Naceur will moderate the Delivering Technological Solutions session of the Action Days, whose speakers include Dr. Moniz and Mr. Hoshino as well as Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal of France and Chairman Liu Zhenya of the State Grid Corporation of China.