Shifting the way the world powers economic growth

As economic activity expands, the level of global CO2 emissions is still rising. After three years of remaining flat, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 1.5 per cent in 2017 and are estimated to have risen further in 2018. This puts even greater policy importance on the forthcoming 24th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is scheduled to be held on 3-14 December in Katowice, Poland. Implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change requires a fundamental shift in the way the world powers economic growth, including rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.

The latest World Economic Situation and Prospects Monthly Briefing reviews the role of fossil fuels, and coal in particular, in economic activity in different regions. Key findings include:

  • CO2 emissions expected to reach an historical high in 2018
  • The low cost of coal relative to alternative energy sources is slowing progress towards energy transition in many regions
  • Phasing out coal use requires a reliable and stable alternative energy supply, plus support to the economic and employment transition in regions dependent on coal production

The Monthly Briefing series can be accessed at:

Join United Nations Chief Economist and Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Elliott Harris on 22 January 2019 at the launch of UN DESA’s flagship report on the world economy, the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019.

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