By Nina Chestney
LONDON (Reuters) - China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 percent in 2010 compared to the previous year as it surpassed the United States as the world's biggest energy consumer, data released by BP on Wednesday showed.
China's emissions from energy use totaled 8.33 billion tonnes last year, while global carbon dioxide emissions grew 5.8 percent year-on-year to 33.16 billion tonnes, energy major BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy showed.
"All forms of energy grew strongly (last year), with growth in fossil fuels suggesting that global CO2 emissions from energy use grew at the fastest rate since 1969," the review said.
Last month, the International Energy Agency said that global carbon dioxide emissions hit their highest level ever in 2010, driven mainly by booming coal-reliant emerging economies.
BP said in its report that global energy consumption grew by 5.6 percent in 2010, its largest increase in percentage terms since 1973.
Chinese energy consumption grew by 11.2 percent and China surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest energy consumer.
Global coal consumption grew by 7.6 percent last year in its fastest growth since 2003, as countries rebounded from the global economic downturn.
Coal now accounts for 29.6 percent of global energy consumption, up from 25.6 percent 10 years ago, BP said.
Chinese coal use grew by 10.1 percent last year. It consumed 48.2 percent of the world's coal, slightly up from around 47 percent in 2009.
Meanwhile, global coal production rose by 6.3 percent, with China up 9 percent, accounting for two thirds of global growth.
Elsewhere, coal production grew robustly in the United States and Asia but fell in the European Union, explaining the relative strength of coal prices in Europe, BP said.
In terms of cleaner energy, global hydroelectric and nuclear output each experienced their strongest rises since 2004.
Hydroelectric output grew by 5.3 percent, with China accounting for more than 60 percent of global growth due to new capacity coming online and wet weather.
Worldwide nuclear output grew by 2 percent last year, with OECD countries accounting for three-quarters of that increase.
French nuclear output rose 4.4 percent, representing the largest increase in the world.
Other renewable sources also grew. Global biofuels production was up 13.8 percent at 240,000 barrels a day.
The United States and Brazil drove most of that growth, rising 17 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.
Renewable power generation grew by 15.5 percent, driven by robust growth in wind energy, which was up 22.7 percent.
"The increase in wind energy in turn was driven by China and the U.S., which together accounted for nearly 70 percent of global growth," the report said.
"These forms of renewable energy accounted for 1.8 percent of global energy consumption, up from 0.6 percent in 2000."
(Editing by James Jukwey)