The executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Turkish native, Fatih Birol, has been named as one of the world's 100 most influential people by TIME in its annual list announced Wednesday.
The TIME 100 list is now in its 18th year and recognizes the impact, innovation and achievement of the most influential individuals across the globe.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency following the announcement, Birol said it is important for him to represent the global energy sector as one of the most important sectors for the world economy.
'It is a great honor to represent my country,' he said.
Birol was the only Turkish individual and one of the 'pioneers' on the list that also included US President Joe Biden, Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former US President Donald Trump, European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Birol, serving as IEA Executive Director since 2015, explained that the 50-year-old institution has transformed into a leader in global energy and climate policies.
'This is an honor that I share with my dedicated colleagues at the IEA who have worked so tirelessly to help the world better understand how the energy sector can lead the fight against climate change. I am humbled to be included on this list alongside some truly admirable people.
'Whatever influence I may have, I want to use it to help countries across the globe accelerate the clean energy transition in an affordable, just and secure way to give the world a fighting chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, possibly the greatest challenge humanity has faced,' he said.
John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, wrote for TIME about Birol, saying that in 'a world where facts are assaulted, he combines the best of high-tech data, optimistic know-how and old-school rhetorical finesse.'
'A trusted counselor to world leaders, he is an objective authority on what it will take to slash carbon emissions and save our planet,' Kerry said, adding that Birol transformed the IEA from a body mostly monitoring oil markets into a leading adviser to the world's major economies across the full suite of energy technologies.
The Agency released a first comprehensive roadmap to reach global net-zero emissions by 2050, Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, in May 2021.
'Countries including India, China, Indonesia and Colombia have all asked him to chart road maps to speed climate action and reach net-zero emissions. When we get there, and if we get there in time, trust that Fatih Birol guided the course to turn words into reality,' Kerry said.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya