In 2010, the worlds’ nations emitted a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide, according to the latest estimates by the International Energy Agency.
CO2 emissions last year were 5% above the previous record year in 2008, the IEA says. In 2009, emissions had slightly dipped below 29 gigatonnes as a result of the global economic crisis.
“Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA said on announcing the figures.
“The world has edged incredibly close to the level of emissions that should not be reached until 2020 if the 2ºC target is to be attained. Given the shrinking room for manœuvre in 2020, unless bold and decisive decisions are made very soon, it will be extremely challenging to succeed in achieving this global goal agreed in Cancun.”
The IEA estimates that 40% of global emissions came from OECD countries in 2010, but these (developed) countries only accounted for 25% of emissions growth compared to 2009. Non-OECD countries – in particular China and India – accounted for the bulk of last year’s emission growth.
In Europe, meanwhile, energy analysts fear that the German government’s decision, announced today, to phase out the use of nuclear power by 2022, may lead to additional emissions from coal and gas-produced energy.
Governments are set to resume faltering negotiations over a global climate deal at a United Nations meeting starting next week in Bonn, Germany.