A 42-page report published Thursday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency found global emissions of carbon dioxide reached a record 34.5 billion tons last year.
"Yet, the increase in global CO2 emissions in that year slowed down to 1.1 percent, which was less than half the average annual increase of 2.9 percent over the last decade," the report said.
The report said emissions tied to fossil-fuel combustion slowed in 2012. Regionally, it said China's emissions increased in 2012 but at a slower rate than in previous years. Decreases were seen from the United States and the European Union.
For China, the report said a slower pace of economic growth and a move toward renewable energy resources like hydropower were responsible for the emissions rate. Economic troubles in the EU and the increase in the use in shale natural gas in the United States were responsible for their respective decreases in emissions, the report said.
The report said the "good news" is that renewable energy use has accelerated since at least 2002. It took 15 years from 1992 to double the share of renewable energy from 0.5 percent to 1.1 percent of the global energy mix but only six more years to double it again.
"The bad news is that fossil-fuel consumption also increased in 2012: in particular, of natural gas [a 2.2 percent increase], but also oil [a 0.9 percent increase] and coal [a 0.6 percent increase]," the report said.