Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan, who has responsibility for energy in the Government, has been elected as lead co-chair of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for 2024.
The IEA is an intergovernmental organisation providing policy recommendations, analysis and data on the global energy sector to its 31 member countries and 11 association countries, including the US, China and India. Its membership represents 75 per cent of global energy demand.
Increasingly it has called from accelerated phase-out of fossil fuel use and in particular has doubled down on its 2021 call for an immediate end to future investment in fossil fuel exploration, including the building of new coal-fired power stations.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has triggered an acceleration in the green transition, with fossil fuels for the first time expected to peak “in the 2030s”, it concluded last October.
French minister for energy Agnès Pannier-Runacher was also elected as co-chair.
It is understood Mr Ryan’s election is based on his two terms as Ireland’s energy minister, his expertise in renewable energy and climate change, and his work on European Councils on energy, environment and transport.
Last year he was appointed as lead EU negotiator on talks at Cop27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, which delivered a historic breakthrough on loss and damage financing.
He also served as co-chair of the European Councils’ North Seas Energy Co-operation (NSEC) throughout 2022, and was instrumental in bringing the UK back into the 10 member-state organisation, which supports and facilitates development of Europe’s huge offshore grid and renewable energy potential.
Mr Ryan’s election means he will co-chair the next IEA ministerial meeting in February 2024, which will be particularly important as it will follow Cop28 in Dubai later this year, that will mark the conclusion of the first “global stocktake” of the world’s collective progress against its climate goals since the 2015 Paris agreement.
The previous chair of the IEA ministerial group was US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm. The election of the co-chairs was endorsed by the IEA’s governing board on Thursday in Paris.