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Giving up on 1.5C climate target would be gift to carbon boosters, says IEA head

Exclusive: Fatih Birol says claims that limit is dead are ‘factually incorrect and politically very wrong’

Solar panels on Geneva airport. Fatih Birol says the Ukraine war has hastened countries’ transitions to clean energy. Photograph: Robert Hradil/Getty Images

The world can still limit global heating to 1.5C, and to claim that the target is now out of reach is to play into the hands of fossil fuel proponents, the world’s leading energy economist has warned.

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, the global authority on energy, slammed scientists and activists who have claimed that the recent Cop27 UN climate summit killed off hopes for the crucial 1.5C limit.

“It is factually incorrect, and politically it is very wrong,” said Birol. “The fact is that the chances of 1.5C are narrowing, but it is still achievable.”

Birol said that the claims that the 1.5C limit was dead were coming from an “unusual coalition” of scientists, activists and fossil fuel industry “incumbents”. [continue]