* World's CO2 emissions rise 1.4 pct to 31.6 bln tonnes
* China's emissions rise the most; U.S., Europe's fall
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, June 10 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.
Japan's CO2 emissions increased by 70 million tonnes, as
efforts to improve energy efficiency failed to offset increasing
use of fossil fuels after the Fukushima nuclear accident in
Scientists say global average temperature rise needs to be
limited to below 2 degrees Celsius this century to prevent
devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting
That would only be possible if emission levels are kept to
around 44 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2020.
However, the IEA said the data shows the world is on a path
to an average temperature rise of between 3.6 and 5.3 degrees
"Global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are
projected to be nearly 4 billion tonnes higher than a level
consistent with attaining the 2 degree target, highlighting the
scale of the challenge still to be tackled just in this decade,"
the agency said.
The IEA urged governments to quickly adopt four policies
that would ensure climate goals could be reached without harming
economic growth. They are: improving energy efficiency in
buildings, industry and transport; limiting the construction and
use of inefficient power plants; halving methane emissions; and
partially phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
These would reduce global energy-related emissions by 8
percent or 3.1 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020, the IEA
"Delaying stronger climate action to 2020 would come at a
cost: $1.5 trillion in low-carbon investments are avoided before
2020, but $5 trillion in additional investments would be
required thereafter to get back on track," the IEA said.
International negotiators are meeting in Bonn, Germany,
until Friday for U.N. talks aimed at getting a new global
climate treaty, which would cut emissions, signed by 2015.
However, the talks got off to a slow start last week due to
attempts by three nations to amend one of the meeting's many
agendas to discuss how future decisions should be made.
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan)