Extreme weather is commonly seen as a product of climate change. But it is also becoming a significant driver of the crisis, a new report suggests. In its annual review of global energy trends, BP calculates that global demand for energy grew by 2.9% last year – the biggest rise since 2010 – and that a significant factor in this was the number of much colder and hotter days than normal, which led to a greater use of air conditioners, fans and heaters.
As a result of this additional energy usage, carbon emissions rose by 2% – faster than in any year since 2011, and roughly the carbon equivalent of having 400 million more cars on the roads. Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, warned of a “worrying vicious cycle: increasing levels of carbon emissions leading to more extreme weather patterns, which in turn trigger stronger growth in energy and carbon emissions”.
While the report acknowledges the “extraordinary growth” in renewable energy – up 14.5% last year – it argues that to tackle climate change we must also find ways of making fossil fuels, BP’s product, less damaging. The oil and gas multinational has called for countries to switch from coal-generated power to gas (which produces fewer emissions), and for more government investment in carbon capture technology, to eliminate the emissions from the flues of power plants before they reach the air. (The Week, 22 June 2019).
Did I read this correctly? One of the big fossil fuel producers, BP, which has fought the idea that its product is responsible for global climate change with every means in its power, now wants greater use of the very natural gas it now produces ( of course) and wants us, the public, to invest in carbon capture from power plants to make its own product harmless. Excuse me – but they produce the product that results in the emissions; they should pay for the carbon capture, big time. Talk about shameless cheek!