The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Ole Berg-Rusten—NTB Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images
By John Kerry
September 15, 2021 7:19 AM EDT

In a world where facts are assaulted, Fatih Birol combines the best of high-tech data, optimistic know-how and old-school rhetorical finesse. A trusted counselor to world leaders, he’s an objective authority on what it will take to slash carbon emissions and save our planet. His data-driven approach is like Moneyball for the clean-energy revolution.

Birol has transformed the International Energy Agency from a body mostly monitoring oil markets into a leading adviser to the world’s major economies across the full suite of energy technologies. Building on over 10 years of analysis, this year his IEA released its first comprehensive road map for reaching global net-zero emissions by 2050 and minimizing the risk of catastrophic climate impacts. 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 is the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate

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