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Energy and the environment explained Outlook for future emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase

In the U.S. Energy Information Administration's International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017) Reference case, world energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rise from 33.9 billion metric tons in 2015 to 36.4 billion metric tons in 2030 and to 39.3 billion metric tons in 2040—an increase of 16% over that period.

Much of the growth in emissions is attributed to developing non-OECD nations, many of which continue to rely on fossil fuels to meet the growth in energy demand. In the IEO2017 Reference case, non-OECD emissions in 2040 total 26.9 billion metric tons, or about 25% higher than the 2015 level. In comparison, OECD emissions remain at about the same level, 12.4 billion metric tons, throughout the projection period.

Line graph showing projected global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2040 for OECD adn non-OECD countries in EIA's International Energy Outlook 2017.

Note: OECD is Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2017, Presentation, slide 13, September 2017

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Last updated: August 2, 2018