Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High in 2012

LONDON (Reuters) - China led a rise in global carbon dioxide emissions to a record high in 2012, more than offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday.

 Worldwide CO2 emissions rose by 1.4 percent to 31.6 billion tonnes, according to estimates from the Paris-based IEA.

China is the biggest emitter and made the largest contribution to the global rise, spewing out an additional 300 million tonnes. But the gain was one of the lowest China has seen in a decade, reflecting its efforts to adopt renewable sources and improve energy efficiency.

In the United States, a switch from coal to gas in power generation helped reduce emissions by 200 million tonnes, bringing them back to the level of the mid-1990s.

Even though the use of coal increased in some European countries last year due to low prices, emissions in Europe declined by 50 million tonnes because of the economic slowdown, growth in renewables, and emissions caps on industrial and power companies, the IEA said.

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