The International Energy Agency (IEA) claims in 2018, carbon emissions from advanced economies are set to rise for the first time in five years.
It says the declining trend being reversed poses a significant setback for global efforts to limit emissions and suggests greenhouse gases from North America, the EU and other advanced economies in Asia Pacific grew as higher oil and gas use more than offset lower levels of coal consumption.
The organisation expects the carbon footprint of these markets to increase by around 0.5% over the course of the year – the IEA says although this is lower than economic growth of 2.4%, it is concerning if nations are to meet their climate obligations.
It predicts this issue will be compounded by emerging economies emitting more carbon dioxide than last year.
In addition, global oil and gas demand is forecast to increase strongly, while “large numbers” of new coal plants continue to be built and come online.
Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said: “Our data shows that despite the strong growth in solar photovoltaics and wind, emissions have started to rise again in advanced economies, highlighting the need for deploying all technologies and energy efficiency.
“Increasing efforts are needed to encourage even more renewables, greater energy efficiency, more nuclear and more innovation for technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage and hydrogen, for instance.”