Why Fatih Birol Never Bought a Car
Fatih Birol: I always thought that using more efficient energy sources, pushing the clean energy technologies such as renewable energies are important. I have been thinking that all the time and try to do this in my work here at IEA, but I also took some personal decisions, which may be a bit unusual for the people who are watching this in the United States. I have refused to buy a car for the reasons of sustainability. And I am 51 and since today I have never bought a car, because I believe using cars is one of the main reasons that we pollute the world, increase CO2 emissions and this is also an issue for oil security.
Question: How has your outlook evolved in the past few years regarding the human ability to change behavior?
Fatih Birol: In fact we are making this outlook since a few years and at least in the last four or five years we try to make it clear to everybody that the sustainability is a key issue and "business as usual," not changing the current energy policies, is not an option anymore. The current policies will lead us to a catastrophic result in terms of oil supply, in terms of climate change, and third one, which I didn’t mention up until now, the affect of the energy on poverty, namely today 1.5 billion people, at least 20% of the global population they have no access to electricity and it is not a minor issue. In sub-Saharan Africa, in South Asia they cannot use electricity as they do not have it. A mother cannot, or a father cannot keep the medication for his or her child in the refrigerator, and this is a major problem. So looking at these three issues we have been highlighting this in the last three or four years and I have felt from time to time frustrated that the governments did not get the message strong enough. But in the last one year or two I have seen that we have seen some impact and some governments are changing their policies, these governments both in the developed countries and in developing countries which makes me a bit more hopeful than in the past.
Question: What is your biggest fear when it comes to the future of our planet?
Fatih Birol: I think my biggest fear is having another global war which might have been a result of sharing the primary commodities in the world.
Question: How do you picture our world in 25 years, particularly when it comes to business sustainability?
Fatih Birol: I would like to see a world which is much more fair than today. Less geopolitical tensions, and more importantly, using much more cleaner energy in a sustainable way. And that in that world we will have solved our climate change problem.
The International Energy Agency chief economist’s biggest fear: that sharing the world's primary commodities could spark another global war.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.