UPDATE 2-Global CO2 emissions hit record in 2011 led by China-IEA
* CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 pct last year
* China the biggest contributor to the global rise
* Trend could have "devastating consequences" -IEA's Birol (Updates with comments from IEA's chief economist)
By Michel Rose
PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.
CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 percent last year to 31.6 billion tonnes, preliminary estimates from the Paris-based IEA showed.
China, the world's biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, the body said, driven mainly by higher coal use.
"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters.
Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers. Continued...