World needs 'grand coalition' on climate change, IEA's Birol says

Key Points
  • Fatih Birol was speaking to CNBC after the IEA launched its World Energy Outlook 2019 report.
  • The landmark Paris Agreement suffered a setback earlier this month when the U.S. began the process to withdraw from it. 
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IEA's Birol: Climate activists, energy firms don't speak same language

The world needs a "grand coalition" to address climate change, according to the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Fatih Birol was speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, after the IEA launched its World Energy Outlook 2019 report earlier.

The report looks at three different policy scenarios and how they would impact the planet: a current policies scenario, a stated policies scenario and a sustainable development scenario.

"Our sustainable development scenario provides a trajectory for the energy sector to be fully in line with (the) Paris Agreement, namely to keep the temperature increase well below two degrees Celsius," he said.

The Paris Agreement was reached at COP21 in 2015. As well as the commitment to make sure global warming stayed "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, world leaders also agreed to "pursue efforts" to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Birol explained that in order to reach the sustainable development goals, technological solutions – renewables, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, among other things – had to be pushed and supported by governments.

"I believe the world needs a grand coalition encompassing governments, investors, industry and all people around the world who are genuinely interested (and) committed to address climate change," he said. "To reach the Paris targets, technology and political will are key."

The Paris Agreement suffered a setback earlier this month. In a statement on November 4 the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced the country had started the process to withdraw. 

"Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations," he said. "The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification."