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BP announces biggest loss for 20 years, with job cuts expected

BP has reported an annual loss of $6.5billion, it’s worse result in 20 years, and has announced that it will axe around 3,000 jobs in a bid to cut costs.

The news comes as shares in the oil major tumbled on the news that the companies bill for its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster had climbed to $55bn.

The energy giant has already cut around 4,000 jobs as the company struggles to come to terms with the collapsing oil price.

Shares in the group fell 5% on the news of last year’s poor performance.

Yesterday, the Financial Times carried a story about the boardroom machinations at the company. It appears that 60 year-old chief executive Bob Dudley could be planning his retirement, as he promoted two potential successors –  Lamar McKay, 57, new deputy chief executive, and 45 year-old Bernard Looney, new of BP’s head the exploration and production business – to senior positions in the company.

In the last four months, authorities have recorded thousands of cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants, like this one.  Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Authorities have recorded thousands of cases in Brazil in which the Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants, like this one. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Is the Zika virus linked to climate change?

The World Health Organisation has called the Zika virus, the mosquito borne virus currently causing devastation across South America, a public health emergency.

The UN body made the announcement after clusters of Brazilian babies were born with brain damage, and other South and Central American countries issued warnings to stop women becoming pregnant before the virus could be brought under control. El Salvador has taken the extraordinary step of telling women to avoid getting pregnant until 2018.

But what’s caused the virus to spread so dramatically this year? The New Yorker have a long read this morning which explores that very question.

Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries both the Zika and dengue virus is said to thrive in warm, humid, urban spaces in Latin American. And, as the magazine notes, there can little doubt that climate change has made that part of the world wetter and warmer.

The Guardian too carry a comment piece reacting to WHO’s declaration.

As cases hit the global north and particularly the US in the coming weeks, panic will start to spread and calls for action will be made. Whether any effort to uncover the causes behind this global health emergency will be viewed as similarly urgent remains to be seen.

Anglo American pressed on climate change policy

A group which owns 5% of the shares of mining giant Anglo American will use its power to press the company on how it will work to address the issue of climate change.

The shareholders are pressing the company for greater transparency on how it will alter its operations to take into account the risk posed by global warming.

The bid will be made at an upcoming shareholders meeting and the Financial Times reports that similar initiatives are underway at other mining giants Glencore and Rio Tinto.

Last year similar actions were taken by shareholders against Shell and BP, with investors demanding to know what projections the companies had made on the risks posed by climate change.

Severe storms hitting UK made more likely by climate change

Severe storms that battered the UK in 2013/4 were made more likely by increased emissions of carbon dioxide.

Researchers from UK universities and citizen scientists found that climate change increased the likelihood of a historically wet January in 2014 by 43%.

The news comes after much of the North of England was badly affected by extreme weather events and flooding over the Christmas period.

The BBC report that scientists used computer models to monitor weather patterns in 2014/14, a year that saw an unusual number of severe storms affecting the UK.

In other news

US election: This morning we woke up to the news that Ted Cruz had won the Iowa caucus for the Republicans, while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had tied for the Democrats (Clinton has since claimed victory by the narrowest margin). US presidential elections are always talked up as the most important in a generation, but as this piece from Paul Krugman shows, on the issue of climate change, that old adage could be true for 2016.

Renewables: Germany outpaces UK on wind energy growth

US: GE to phase out fluorescent light bulbs

Aviation: EasyJet to trial hybrid fuel aircraft