International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said world leaders needed to find the political will during climate talks in Mexico to advance the agenda beyond vague commitments reached at last year's summit in Denmark.
"Despite the positive steps taken last year in Copenhagen, we must achieve a lower emission path," he said in a statement.
The IEA said that though greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were modestly lower than previous years, global energy-related emissions were still far above the 1990 base levels.
Tanaka said the finances needed to move toward a greener economy were increasing while lawmakers sat hamstrung by their lack of mobilization.
"We simply cannot afford to delay action any longer," he said.
He added that the objective the Cancun summit was to push for more ambitious climate goals through international coordination while emphasizing the importance of sound domestic efforts.
"We must work at all levels, in all countries and with all technologies to find the solutions we will need to transform our energy sector and bring lasting global emissions reductions," he said.