New analysis from PwC shows UK and China are fastest decarbonisers, but no country is moving quickly enough to avert dangerous climate change
Not a single country in the world is doing enough to cut carbon emissions in line with targets set out in the Paris Agreement, according to new analysis released today by PwC.
The consultancy giant's latest Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) found that across all countries, the average decarbonisation rate in 2017 was 2.6 per cent, less than half that required to shift the world onto the 2C trajectory scientists believe is the minimum required to avert 'dangerous' levels of warming this century.
Echoing other recent analyses, the PwC report revealed that far from being cut global greenhouse emissions actually rose 1.1 per cent in 2017.
Jonathan Grant, director of climate change at PwC, delivered a stark warning to policymakers and businesses ahead of an imminent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on how the world might meet the more ambitious Paris Agreement goal to keep temperature increases below 1.5C.
"There seems to be almost zero chance of limiting warming to well below two degrees - the main goal of the Paris Agreement," Grant 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."
Even the UK and China, which are leading the pack in terms of cuts in carbon intensity, are not moving fast enough to cut greenhouse emissions from their economies in line with a 2C scenario, the analysis concluded.
In 2017 China reduced the carbon intensity of its economy at a rate of 5.2 per cent, the fastest of any nation in the world. In the last decade, China has almost halved its carbon intensity, PwC said, as soaring economic growth has been accompanied by improvements in energy efficiency and the development of the world's largest clean energy market.
Meanwhile, the UK delivered a 2017 decarbonisation rate of 4.7 per cent, retaining its lead as the nation delivering the fastest transition to a low-carbon economy of any G20 country over the last 10 years.
Other top decarbonisers for 2017 included Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, with decarbonisation rates above 4.5 per cent.
But without faster action to curb emissions the global carbon budget to limit warming to two degrees will run out in 2036, PwC concluded. If the world is to meet its 2C goal, a global average decarbonisation rate of 6.4 per cent will be needed, the consultancy calculated.
The bleak warnings come as government officials gather this week in South Korea to make the final touches to a UN report that will set out what is needed for the world to meet the Paris Agreement's upper target of limiting warming to 1.5C.
Keeping temperature increases below 1.5C is regarded as extremely challenging, but it is also seen as the level necessary to save low lying island states from rising sea levels and avert the worst impacts of climate change.
The report, drawn up by the world's top climate scientists over the last three years, is likely to argue reductions in carbon emissions of an unprecedented pace and scale are urgently required if the world is to have any hope of meeting the 1.5C goal. Last week one of the co-authors of the report warned the global economy is "nowhere near on track" for delivering a 1.5C trajectory.
Campaigners are hoping the report will spur countries on to boost their national climate pledges made under the Paris Agreement in light of its findings. As it stands, the pledges are only enough to stay in line with a 2.6C trajectory by the end of the century, assuming all targets are honoured.
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