Skip to main content

Global economies must lower emissions five times faster

Oilfield Technology,

PwC’s climate change analysts estimate that global economies need to cut their energy related carbon emissions doe every US$ of GDP by 6.2%/y from now to 2100.

According to the firm, the reduction target is an estimate of how much countries need to reduce their energy related emissions by, while growing their economy, in order to limit global warming to 2 °C.

For the sixth consecutive year of PwC analysis, the Low Carbon Economy Index finds that global carbon intensity (greenhouse gas emissions per US$ GDP) reduction target has been missed.  The gap between what countries are doing and what is needed continues to grow.

Current total annual energy related emissions are just over 30 GtCO2 and rising, on the back of GDP growth of 3.1%. In the same period, carbon intensity was reduced by only 1.2%, a fraction of what was needed. As a result, the global challenge going forward is tougher than before – averaging 6.2%/y, to 2100.

In the Index’s G20 analysis, Australia surpassed the annual target – recording a decarbonisation rate of 7.2% over 2013, putting it top of the table for the second year in a row. Three other countries – the UK, Italy and China – achieved a decarbonisation rate of between 4 - 5%. However, five countries increased their carbon intensity over 2013 - France, the US, India, Germany and Brazil.

Despite this, analysis shows encouraging signs that momentum is building in critical areas for low carbon economic growth:

  • The E7 outperformed the G7 in carbon reduction (1.7% versus 0.2%) for the first time in six years, indicating how it can be possible to maintain economic growth while slowing the rate of growth in emissions.
  • Renewable electricity generation, excluding hydroelectricity, grew at 16% - a continuing trend for the last decade with continuing growth every year. Renewables now account for nearly 10% of total energy mix in six of the G20 economies.

Leo Johnson, Partner, PwC sustainability and climate change, commented: “After a decade of carbon inertia, we are way behind, and now need to decarbonise at more than five times our current rate to avoid 2 °C. But there are reasons for optimism. The E7 has woken up to the business logic of green growth, decarbonising faster than the G7 for the first recorded time. And globally renewables are emerging fast. As they approach cost parity the stage is set for a policy framework that shifts subsidies away from fossil fuels and accelerates the renewables rollout”.

Jonathan Grant, Director, PwC sustainability and climate change, said: “What we’ve seen over the past 12 months is a subtle change in the carbon rhetoric. The costs of climate inaction – from flooding to energy costs to commodity pricing, to food insecurity – appear to be growing stronger. A broader recognition is needed by both business and political leaders that taking decisive action to avoid the extremes of climate change is a precondition for sustained economic growth”.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):