Led by Dr Frank Jotzo, Director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy in the Australian National University (ANU) Crawford School, the study traced the causes of the spike in global carbon emissions during 2010.
The study results state that it was due to a combination of unusual factors and is likely to be one-off.
Dr Jotzo said that contributing factors included the quick growth of the economy in 2010, relatively low fossil fuel prices, fiscal stimulus spending on energy-intensive activities such as construction, and a slight shift in the global mix of energy sources towards higher-carbon sources.
“The 2010 emissions surge was exceptional,” he said. “It is likely that global emissions growth slowed in 2011 and the fragile condition of the world economy suggests moderate emissions growth for 2012 as well.”Article continues below…
Dr Paul Burke, a co-author of the study and an energy economist at ANU, added that 2010 saw a rare occurrence of energy demand outpacing world economic output as the world rebounded from the global financial crisis.
The researchers also found that, while it has continued on an upward trend, global carbon emission growth will probably slow in years to come.
“Thanks to policy efforts to improve energy efficiency and shift to lower-carbon energy supply, combined with greater availability of natural gas and falling costs of renewable energy technologies, we can expect slower emissions growth,” said Dr Jotzo.