Francesco La Camera said renewables need to push harder into transport and heating as he took the reins as director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

La Camera said: “The global energy transformation is entering a new phase.

“We must do everything we can to accelerate the pace and scope of change if we are to meet climate objectives, while ensuring that the new energy paradigm is fair and inclusive.”

La Camera – formerly director general for sustainable development, energy and climate at the Italian Ministry of Environment – replaces Adnan Amin, who steps down after eight years in the job.

The new Irena chief also led the EU and Italian negotiating teams at the COP20 climate talks in Lima and headed the Italian delegations at three other COP sessions.

La Camera was elected for a four-year term by the Irena Assembly, which met in Abu Dhabi in January.