The executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that new energy policies are needed in order to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Fatih Birol said that whilst many countries have plans to be net-zero by mid-century, few have the actual policies to meet the goals.

“We are not on track for a green recovery, just the opposite,” Birol said. “We have seen global emissions higher in December 2020 than in December 2019. As long as countries do not put the right energy policies in place, the economic rebound will see emissions significantly increase in 2021. We will make the job of reaching net-zero harder.”

“Governments must provide clear signals to investors around the world that investing in dirty energy will mean a greater risk of losing money. This unmistakable signal needs to be given by policymakers to regulators, investors and others,” he added.

“Looking at the energy sector, the next 10 years will be very, very critical,” he said. “If governments put money in clean energy finance, in the context of their economic recovery plans, that will make the challenge less difficult.”

Birol has called on the US government to set out a plan to cut carbon emissions and lead the way.

“NDCs should be ambitious, credible, accountable and backed with credible energy policies. The US’s current NDC is not ambitious enough, and not in line with the US leading an international climate campaign.”