Global carbon emissions are up 6 per cent to 33.5 billion tonnes – the largest increase in a single year, despite low growth in developed nations.
According to new figures released by the US Department of Energy, China is now the largest polluter in the world, taking the crown that the USA has worn for decades.
China now accounts for 24.3% of all carbon emissions, and showed a 9.3% increase between 2009 – 2010.
The 694 million-tonne increase is larger than the amount of carbon dioxide Britain emits as a whole every year.
This news comes as the world gears up for the UN climate conference in Durban, South Africa later this month, where Britain and the EU will attempt to lead the world in drawing up a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
But with China and India seemingly not interested in reducing their emissions, it seems rather unlikely that anything will happen in South Africa in the next few weeks, other than more protests from Greenpeace activists, who climbed up a crane earlier this week to protest the construction of a new coal-fired power station.