According to the latest estimates putout by the International Energy Agency, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions during the year of 2010 were the highest in history.
After dipping during 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, emissions are believed to have climbed to a new record of 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt), a jump of five percent from 2008, the previous record year, when levels reached 29.3Gt.
“This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2ºC,” said Dr Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA who oversees the annual World Energy Outlook, the Agency’s flagship publication.
“Our latest estimates are another wake-up call,” said Dr Birol. “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.”
44% of the estimated CO2 emissions in 2010 came from coal, 36% from oil, and 20% from natural gas.