Oil, natural gas and chemicals industry’s carbon emissions rose 5 percent in the first six months of the year to reach a record level, the United Nations’ International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
The increase in carbon dioxide emissions is the first time since 2010 that oil and gas companies have reached such a high level in the past three years.
The IEA said its data is preliminary but that it is consistent with a growing picture of climate change and other global impacts that are leading to an increase in emissions and the likelihood of extreme weather events.
The agency said the increase is mainly driven by a surge in the use of the oil and natural gas industry’s “dirty” fuels, such as diesel and petrol, as well as a rise in the number of companies using biofuels.
The use of oil and gasoline, as opposed to diesel and coal, accounts for more than a quarter of global carbon dioxide production.
The U.N. agency said this year’s emissions rise was the first since 2009, when the world produced more than 10 trillion tons of CO2 equivalent.
Oil and gas producers are expected to produce more than 12 trillion tons by 2020, up from 5.6 trillion tons in 2020, according to the IEA.
The sector is also responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The world has been using oil and chemicals since the early 20th century, and by 2030 the oil industry is expected to account for 25 percent of global emissions, the agency said.