Smoke billows from a coal-fired generator at a steel factory in Hebei, China, in 2015. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

A new International Energy Agency report finds that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from energy — which are the lion's share of global emissions — ticked upward by 1.4% in 2017 after a three-year plateau.

Why it matters: The findings underscore the immense challenge of reigning in heat-trapping emissions in an increasingly energy-hungry world. Carbon dioxide output is on pace to eventually bring about global warming levels that blow past the targets of the Paris climate agreement.

What's happening now: Emissions rose despite the expansion of solar and wind power, and displacement of coal by natural gas and renewables in some markets.

  • "The increase in carbon emissions, equivalent to the emissions of 170 million additional cars, was the result of robust global economic growth of 3.7%, lower fossil-fuel prices and weaker energy efficiency efforts," the report states.

The big picture: The agency estimates that global energy demand increased by 2.1% last year, well above by the 2016 rate, with 40% of that growth coming from China and India alone.

  • Fossil fuels met over two-thirds of that additional worldwide energy need.
  • Demand for coal, the most carbon-intensive fuel, rose by about 1% after two years of declines. However, renewables, natural gas, nuclear and oil all grew more robustly.

The context: The IEA data is the second major report to show that the multi-year hiatus in emissions increases has ended. A recent study called Global Carbon Budget reached a similar conclusion, finding that global emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew by 1.5% last year.

Quoted: "The significant growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 tells us that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient," IEA head Fatih Birol said in a statement.

  • Asian nations provided the bulk of the emissions growth, while some major countries including the U.S., U.K., Mexico and Japan saw declines, IEA said.

Yes, but: The report nonetheless shows how the global economy is becoming less carbon-intensive. The economy in China, by far the world's largest emitter, grew by almost 7% last year but it's emissions grew by just 1.7% "thanks to continued renewables deployment and faster coal-to-gas switching," IEA said.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,976,447 — Total deaths: 1,014,266 — Total recoveries: 23,644,023Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,233,945 — Total deaths: 206,959 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
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  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding after funding expired briefly, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Why it matters: The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

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In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1,700 firefighters are battling 26 major wildfires across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 3.9 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

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