Friday 18 December 2020 12:01 am

Global emissions cuts needed on 'unprecedented scale' to reach Paris Climate target

If the world is to reach the Paris Climate Agreement’s target of a global temperature increase of no more than 1.5°C, we need to cut emissions five times more quickly than the current rate.

This is according to PwC’s Net Zero Economy Index, which delivers a stark message to businesses and governments.

The index shows that a decarbonisation rate of 11.7 per cent per annum is now required to keep global warming within 1.5°C, which is five times greater than what was achieved prior to the pandemic (2.4 per cent).

Economic growth and CO2 emissions

For the last 10 years, PwC UK’s Index has modelled economic growth and energy-related CO2 emissions data, against the rates required to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement. It tracks how economies are progressing in breaking the link between economic growth and increases in energy related carbon emissions.

The index shows that progress in decoupling energy-related CO2 emissions growth from economic growth slowed. In 2019 global energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 0.5 per cent with economic growth of 2.9 per cent.

“Every year we underachieve on cutting carbon, the task gets tougher and the transition required is more radical. We now need decarbonisation and ultimately transformation of companies, industries and geographies at an unprecedented scale and speed,” says Dr Celine Herweijer, global climate change leader, and partner at PwC UK.

”The good news is that when public policy, public interest, technological innovation and investment line up, we can see how fast systems can transform,” she concludes.