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IEA launches global group to tackle fallout from energy transition

Noah Browning
·2-min read

By Noah Browning

LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The International Energy Agency (IEA) is launching a global commission to address the impact on employment and society from the transition to renewable energy from fossil fuels, it said on Tuesday.

The commission, chaired by Denmark, will include energy ministers from Canada, Norway, Mexico and Oman. It will also include U.S energy officials, as Washington shifts course under President Joe Biden, who has pledged to tackle climate change.

"We believe the real success of this transition is critically hinging on whether or not citizens will benefit from the opportunities and how we navigate the disruptions of clean energy transitions," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

"Employment will change, some sectors will gain significantly while others inevitably decline. Governments will need to proactively prepare for change and to protect those adversely affected," he told a webinar.

The Paris-based energy watchdog said this month that global emissions that had dropped sharply in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis would rebound in 2021 unless governments acted.

Britain hosts a summit in Glasgow in November aimed at drawing up global goals to tackle climate change.

Birol said he was optimistic the new U.S. administration would join other major economies in committing to a net zero emissions target by mid-century.

President Biden has temporarily suspended the issuing of permits for oil and gas drilling in federal acreage, reversing the direction taken by his predecessor Donald Trump who had sought to maximise output from federal areas.

Critics say Biden's initiative will cost jobs. Federal leases account for close to 25% of U.S. crude output, making them a big contributor to energy supply but also a major contributor to America's greenhouse gas emissions. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Edmund Blair)