Better accuracy in short‐term forecasting is required for intermediate planning for the national target to reduce CO2 emissions. High stake climate change conventions need accurate predictions of the future emission growth path of the participating countries to make informed decisions. The current study forecasts the CO2 emissions of the 17 key emitting countries. Unlike previous studies where linear statistical modeling is used to forecast the emissions, we develop a multilayer artificial neural network model to forecast the emissions. This model is a dynamic nonlinear model that helps to obtain optimal weights for the predictors with a high level of prediction accuracy. The model uses the gross domestic product (GDP), urban population ratio, and trade openness, as predictors for CO2 emissions. We observe an average of 96% prediction accuracy among the 17 countries which is much higher than the accuracy of the previous models. Using the optimal weights and available input data the forecasting of CO2 emissions is undertaken. The results show that high emitting countries, such as China, India, Iran, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia are expected to increase their emissions in the near future. Currently, low emitting countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, and South Korea will also tread on a high emission growth path. On the other hand, the USA, Japan, UK, France, Italy, Australia, and Canada will continuously reduce their emissions. These findings will help the countries to engage in climate mitigation and adaptation negotiations.
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