After a drop in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 gigatons, a 5 percent jump from the previous record year of 2008, an IEA release said Monday.
The IEA estimates 80 percent of projected CO2 emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, as they will come from power plants currently in place or under construction.
"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 2 degrees C (3.6 F)," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said.
The target of limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees C had been agreed to by global leaders at the United Nations climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.
"Our latest estimates are another wake-up call," Birol said.
"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 maneuver 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," Birol said.