PARIS, June 10 (UPI) -- Carbon dioxide emissions rose a record 1.4 percent in 2012, putting the planet on a course for "disaster," the International Energy Agency in Paris said.
If the rate of increase in global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy production stays the same it could mean a temperature rise above pre-industrial times of as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit, which "would be a disaster for all countries," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned.
"This puts us on a difficult and dangerous trajectory," Birol said in a release from IEA's Paris headquarters. "If we don't do anything between now and 2020, it will be very difficult because there will be a lot of carbon already in the atmosphere and the energy infrastructure will be locked in."
"Energy has a crucial role to play in tackling climate change" because the energy sector accounts for more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, an IEA report released Monday said.
The United States came of well in the report, as a move from coal to shale gas and the increasing use of renewable energy accounted for the fourth drop in energy-related emissions in the past five years, dipping to a level last seen in the 1990s.
Emissions also fell in Europe but rose 3.8 percent in China, which remains the largest contributor of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with about a quarter of global emissions, the IEA report said.