New analysis by professional services firm PwC released on Wednesday reveals that there is currently an ‘almost zero chance’ of nations meeting the terms of the Paris Agreement.
The statistics from PwC’s Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) 2018 show that the average decarbonising rate in 2017 was 2.6 per cent – less than half the rate required to divert global warming to the 2C level that is believed by scientists to be the minimum needed to prevent ‘dangerous’ rates of warming. Worse still, globally, greenhouse gas emissions rose by 1.1%.
The LCEI is a yearly report on the speed at which countries around the world are reducing their carbon intensity.
The Paris Agreement focuses mainly upon keeping global temperatures “well below” 2.0C (3.6F) and countries are encouraged to “endeavour to limit” them further, to 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial times.
Jonathan Grant, Director of Climate Change at PwC, said: “Given the gap between talk and action on climate, the risks to business are obvious: fragmented, knee-jerk regulation and physical impacts of climate change.”
Last year, the United Nations (UN) warned of an “unacceptable” gap between what countries have pledged and the actual emissions reductions required to meet the Paris targets.
Nonetheless, the UK has topped the G20 nations in terms of decarbonising, making the fastest transition to achieving these targets. Since 2000 Britain has seen its economy grow by over a third whilst its greenhouse gases have dropped 29%.
UK has been decarbonising at a rate of 3.7% per year since the millennium, and last year the UK’s emissions fell by 2.9 per cent…
Grant commented that “the UK is a global leader in driving the low carbon transition,”
“Following success in decarbonising the electricity sector, achieving the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, which was launched last year, will now depend on faster progress in other sectors, such as transport and industry,”
“Renewables, energy efficiency and dominant growth of the services sectors all contributed to the UK’s top performance compared with other G20 countries.”
China achieved a 5.2% reduction in carbon emissions production in 2017, making it the most successful and largest year-on-year reduction in emissions that year. The country has almost halved its economy’s carbon intensity.
The LCEI also credits Mexico’s strong low-carbon progress.
However, Donald Trump withdrew the USA from the Paris Agreement in 2017. The US and China are still accountable for 40% of all global emissions, which are one of the primary drivers of climate change.
Grant concluded that global co-operation was key, noting that “there are many solutions to this problem – governments just need to get on with implementing them.”