The world is on pace to more than double the expected global temperature rise due to climate change according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.
The United Nations has set a goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius by 2020, according to the IEA report. But with carbon emissions rising worldwide, the Earth is on track for as much as a 5 degree increase.
"This report shows that the path we are currently on is more likely to result in a temperature increase of between 3.6 degrees Celsius and 5.3 degrees Celsius," IEA head Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement.
The IEA was founded during the aftermath of the 1970s oil crisis in order to manage the release of emergency stocks of oil. The group has 28 members, including the United States, Canada, much of the European Union, Japan and Australia. China, India and Russia, three of the countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, are not members.
According to the report, global carbon dioxide emissions increased 1.4 percent in 2012, a record. The United States' emissions were reduced by 200 million tons, bringing U.S. emissions close to levels present in the mid 1990s. Europe also saw a modest emissions reduction. On the other hand, China's emissions growth was the largest in the world, releasing 300 million tons more carbon dioxide in 2012 than they did in 2011; Japan's emissions increased 70 million tons between 2011 and 2012.
The agency says in order to hit the United Nations goal, countries need to limit the construction of coal power plants, increase construction of renewable power plants, phase out fossil fuel subsidies, halve methane gas emissions and invest in energy-efficient buildings and transportation.
"Rapid and widespread adoption [of these suggestions] could act as a bridge to further action, buying precious time while international climate negotiations continue," Fatih Birol, the study's lead author, said in a statement.