"We now need to work hard to make sure that 2019 is remembered as a definitive peak in global emissions, not just another pause in growth", said Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director.
The International Energy Agency said emissions of the main man-made greenhouse gas stayed at 33 gigatons in 2019, even as the world economy grew by 2.9 percent. Power generation from coal - the most polluting fossil fuel - declined by 15% in advanced economies in 2019 according to the IEA.
United Nations climate scientists say that global greenhouse emissions would need to fall by 7.6% every year between now and 2030 to stop temperatures rising to levels that will cause severe climate change in the coming decades.
The agency, which advises mostly oil and gas importing countries on energy issues, attributed the flat growth to the greater role of renewable sources in power generation, fuel switching from coal to natural gas, and higher nuclear power generation.
The United States led the world in tackling Carbon dioxide emissions past year while combining that singular success with solid economic growth, a new report reveals. Major economies also experienced milder weather than during 2018, and economic growth slowed in some emerging countries like India.
Global carbon dioxide emissions flatlined a year ago as governments across the world embarked on an ambitious energy transition, according to latest data from the International Energy Agency.
European Union emissions fell by 160 million tonnes or 5 per cent last year from a year earlier due to more use of natural gas and wind power in electricity generation. For the first time ever, natural gas produced more electricity than coal and wind-powered electricity almost caught up with coal-fired electricity. It also noted that over the last 20 years, US emissions have decreased almost one gigaton (1 billion metric tons).
"We have the energy technologies to do this, and we have to make use of them all", the Turkish economist and energy expert added.
An earlier 2019 report from the Global Carbon Project determined that fossil-fuel emissions ticked up about 0.6% previous year, though the full range of estimates allowed for a slight dip.
"This welcome halt in emissions growth is grounds for optimism that we can tackle the climate challenge this decade", Birol said.
In Japan, emissions dropped by nearly 45 million tonnes, or around four per cent, representing the country's fastest pace of decline in over a decade thanks to output from recently restarted nuclear generators.
However, energy-related emissions across the rest of the world continued to grow, rising by nearly 400 million tonnes in 2019, with nearly 80 per cent of that increase taking place in Asia where coal-fired power generation rose yet again, according to the IEA. "It is evidence that clean energy transitions are underway-and it's also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments".