The world's advanced economies will see an uptick in their carbon dioxide emissions this year, bucking a five year-long decline, according to the International Energy Agency's statement on Tuesday.
According to latest available energy data, energy-related CO2 emissions in North America, the European Union and other advanced economies in the Asia Pacific grew as higher oil and gas use more than offset declining coal consumption.
As a result, the IEA expects an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in these economies by around 0.5 percent in 2018.
"Although the growth in emissions is lower than the 2.4 percent rise in economic growth, it is particularly worrisome for global efforts to meet the Paris Agreement," the IEA highlighted.
Energy-related CO2 emissions from advanced economies fell by around 3 percent, or close to 400 million tons, over the past five years.
"This was primarily due to a steady decline in coal consumption, given rapid growth in renewables sources of energy, the spread of more efficient equipment and appliances, and coal-to-gas switching, especially in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere," the agency said.
The agency also said that global oil demand is set to grow robustly in 2018, while global gas use is projected to strongly increase pushed in particular by Chinese policies that aim to curb air pollution in cities.
Nonetheless, the agency said that large numbers of new coal power plants would continue to be built and come online, which would lead to a growth in global CO2 emissions in 2018.
This growth would follow last year’s 1.6 percent increase, which ended a three-year period of flat emissions between 2014 and 2016, the IEA projected.
In the IEA's Sustainable Development Scenario, which is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement as well as lower air pollution and universal energy access, global emissions are set to fall by over 1 percent every year to 2025.
The IEA's statement came after the beginning of the United Nation climate summits, i.e. the so-called COP 24 meeting (Conference of the Parties) in the Polish city of Katowice that is running from Dec. 2 to 14.
This year's summit will see sessions on the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 14) and the Conference of Signatories to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1).
Twenty thousand people from 190 participant countries will take part in the event, including politicians, representatives of non-governmental organizations, scientific community and business sector. Those attending the COP24 climate conference this week and next will take stock of efforts to limit emissions.
"Global energy-related CO2 emissions need to peak as soon as possible and then enter a steep decline for countries to meet climate goals," the IEA concluded.
By Gulsen Cagatay