The amount of heat-trapping pollution emitted in 2011 rose by three per cent compared with 2010.
So scientists say it’s now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.
The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter.
Of the planet’s top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.
Last year, all the world’s nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That’s about a billion tonnes more than the previous year.
The total amounts to more than 1.1 million kilograms of carbon dioxide released into the air every second.
Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely, but ‘‘rather optimistic’’ to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to two degrees Celsius, said the study’s lead author, Glen Peters at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.