Lake Mead, formed by the dam on the Colorado River in the southwestern United States, at 47 percent capacity as viewed on August 14th, 2023. | Photo by George Rose / Getty Images

2023 can now boast a terrifying record: planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions from global energy use hit a record.

It’s been almost a decade since the adoption of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to stop global warming. To fulfill the most ambitious goals in the agreement, countries are supposed to slash global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

But we’re moving in the opposite direction. Energy-related emissions rose by 410 million metric tons in 2023, according to a new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). That’s roughly equivalent to the annual pollution from adding more than 1,000 new gas-fired power plants.


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