5th annual PwC Low Carbon Economy Index

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According to PwC analysis, the world is on track to blow the 2°C carbon budget, estimated by the IPCC for the next 89 years, within 21 years.

This puts the world on a path consistent with potential global warming of around 4°C by 2100, the most extreme scenario presented in the recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report on climate science.

The results, from the 5th annual PwC Low Carbon Economy Index, examine the amount of energy-related carbon emitted per unit of GDP needed to limit global warming to 2°C.

The report warns that this level of warming “will have serious and far reaching implications.” Current investment planning cycles for major business and infrastructure investments now need to factor this into their decision making.

It finds that policies and low carbon technologies have failed to break the link between growth and carbon emissions in the global economy. The world’s energy mix remains dominated by fossil fuels:
  • Reductions in carbon intensity globally have averaged 0.7% per year over the past five years – a fraction of the 6% reductions now required every year to 2100
  • The G7 averaged a 2.3% reduction while the E7 – which includes much of the manufacturing base of the global economy – only managed 0.4%
  • US, Australia and Indonesia achieved significant reductions in carbon intensity in 2012, but no country has sustained major reductions over several years
  • While the fracking revolution has helped lower emissions in US, cheaper coal contributed to higher coal usage elsewhere, for example in the EU, raising concerns that decarbonisation in one country can just shift emissions elsewhere.