Speaking at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CIM) in Delhi, India, IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said: "The drive to clean up the world's energy system has stalled. Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago."
In its Tracking Clean Energy Progress report, the IEA introduced the "energy sector carbon intensity index".
This shows how much carbon is admitted per unit of energy. In 1990 this count stood at 2.39 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of oil equivalent, in 2010 this was at 2.37.
However, the IEA praised the development of new renewables technologies, including in wind power. It also highlighted India, Brazil and China's support for the sector.
It said the cost of energy needed to be reflected in consumer prices through carbon pricing and the phase out of fossil fuel subsidies.
Last year's CIM was notable for a US and UK deal to co-operate on the development of floating platforms for wind turbines.