In recent years, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide—one of the most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—have been increasing at a rate of about 0.5 percent annually. Because anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions of carbon dioxide result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy, energy use has emerged at the center of the climate change debate. World carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase steadily in the IEO2007 reference case, from 26.9 billion metric tons in 2004 to 33.9 billion metric tons in 2015 and 42.9 billion metric tons in 2030, an increase of 59 percent over the projection period [emphasis added].
From 2003 to 2004, carbon dioxide emissions from the non-OECD countries grew by almost 10 percent, largely because of a 17-percent increase in coal use in non-OECD Asia, while emissions from the OECD countries grew by less than 2 percent. The result of the large increase in non-OECD emissions was that 2004 marked the first time in history that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from the non-OECD countries exceeded those from the OECD countries—although by only about 8 million metric tons (Figure 7). Further, because the projected average annual increase in emissions from 2004 to 2030 in the non-OECD countries (2.6 percent) is more than three times the increase projected for the OECD countries (0.8 percent), carbon dioxide emissions from the non-OECD countries in 2030, at 26.2 billion metric tons, are projected to exceed those from the OECD countries by 57 percent.
From the U.S. EIA International Energy Outlook.