Extreme temperatures around the globe drove a sharp acceleration in energy demand and carbon emissions last year, oil giant BP says.
The company has issued a stark warning that the world risks losing the battle against climate change.
While 2018 saw another sharp pick-up in renewable power such as wind and solar, continued growth in oil, gas and coal consumption meant that overall, the world's energy mix remained "depressingly" flat, BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in the company's benchmark 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy on Tuesday.
The 2.9 per cent rise in energy demand in 2018, the fastest rate since 2010, deals a blow to global efforts to meet the 2015 UN-backed Paris climate agreement to limit global warming by sharply reducing carbon emissions by the end of the century.
China, India and the United States accounted for around two-thirds of the growth in energy demand. In the US, demand rose by 3.5 per cent, the fastest rate in 30 years following a decade of declines.
And as energy consumption grew, greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning of fossil fuels, which account for around two-thirds of total emissions, rose last year by 2 per cent.
"It's clear we're on an unstable path with carbon emissions rising at their fastest rate since 2011," Dale said in a briefing ahead of the release of the report.
London-based BP and its rival oil and gas companies have faced growing pressure from investors and climate activists to meet the Paris climate change goals.
Earlier this year, BP agreed to increase its disclosure on emissions, set targets to reduce them and show how future investments meet the Paris goals. But investors and activists say it needs to do more.
Energy consumption has historically been closely linked to economic growth.
But while global economic activity cooled last year, energy demand growth was driven by a sharp increase in abnormally hot and cold days around the world, particularly in China, the US and India, which in turn led consumers to use more energy for cooling and heating.
Parts of the northern hemisphere were hit by freezing cold weather fronts last winter, only to face record temperatures in summer that resulted in vast fires and droughts.
In the US, the combined number of heating and cooling days was the highest since the 1950s, BP said.
"There is a growing mismatch between societal demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress," Dale said.
Australian Associated Press