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Think Change episode 13: how do we solve the fossil fuel problem?

Written by Sara Pantuliano, Chukwumerije Okereke, Michael Jacobs, Ipek Gençsü

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or search for "Think Change" in your favourite podcast player.

The International Energy Agency last year found that there is no room for any new coal, oil or gas if the world is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – a crucial target to keep global heating to 1.5°C. But how do we balance this with the stark reality that fossil fuels today account for around 80% of the world’s energy consumption and that in many countries these energy needs are growing?

Renewables are cost-competitive and growing, but many countries are still hugely dependent on fossil fuels – not only for their energy needs, but also for government revenue through their exports.

In this episode, we discuss the urgent need for a just energy transition that also meets development objectives, and the role of the international community, in particular the wealthy countries and big emitters, in supporting this transition.

This is the first of a three-part series focusing on COP27, the 27th annual UN climate conference, which is taking place in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November. It will be the fifth COP to be hosted in Africa – a continent responsible for less than 4% of global emissions, but which faces some of the worst impacts of climate change. Questions around taking responsibility for addressing climate change will be high on the agenda – and in the next two episodes, we will focus on climate adaptation and what to do about loss & damage as a result of climate change.


  • Sara Pantuliano (host), Chief Executive, ODI
  • Chukwumerije Okereke, Professor of Global Climate and Environmental Governance and Director of Center for Climate and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Nigeria
  • Michael Jacobs, Professor of Political Economy, University of Sheffield
  • Ipek Gencsu, Senior Research Fellow, ODI

Related resources

The following resources were discussed in this episode: