In Brief

‘Vicious cycle’ as wild weather increases carbon emissions

BP warns that extreme conditions raises demand for fossil fuels

Extreme weather last year stoked demand for fossil fuels causing carbon emissions from the global energy industry to rise at the fastest rate in almost a decade, warns BP.

The oil company said its analysis showed that global energy demand and emissions grew faster than expected last year, mainly due to “an unusually large number” of hot and cold days causing an increase in demand for heating and air conditioning.

This means the planet may be facing a “vicious cycle”, The Times says, in which extreme weather caused by climate change “drives up energy use for heating and air conditioning, further increasing planet-warming emissions”.

The Guardian adds a stark warning, saying: “We cannot afford many more years like this.”

Although BP said that it was possible the trend was just “random variation” in weather patterns, it added that there could be “a link between the growing levels of carbon in the atmosphere and the types of weather patterns observed in 2018”.

The news comes as Theresa May seeks to enshrine in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so.

The pledge will be made in an amendment to the Climate Change Act laid in parliament today. The Guardian says it will be “one of the most ambitious such goals set by a major polluting nation”.

Reaching the target “could mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling”, The Independent says.

It adds: “It could also require people to eat less meat and dairy and take fewer flights.”

Commenting on May's commitment, Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said the target was “a big moment for everyone in the climate movement”. However, he warned that there are “loopholes” of allowing international carbon credits, which would “shift the burden to developing nations”.

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