Time to put the foot down?

Pipe with white smoke against the background of blue sky and copy space. emission of steam and smoke into the atmosphere
Image: Shutterstock.com/darksoul72

A decarbonisation rate of 11.7% per annum is now required to keep warming within 1.5°C – five times greater than what was achieved prior to the pandemic (2.4%), according to new analysis from PwC in December.

The PwC Net Zero Index shows that, based on current trends in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, the century’s global carbon budget would be used up by the end of this decade. It sets the scene for a decade requiring unprecedented progress and technology transformation across business, government and society. As global economies plan their emergence from the pandemic, the Index provides a warning sign of the risks of a return to “business as usual” in the race to recover and generate new growth.

Tracking a complete year of energy and economic data from 2019 (the most recent available), this year’s 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% with economic growth of 2.9%. Carbon intensity fell by 2.4% which is above the long term average decarbonisation rate of 1.5%, but falls way short of the progress required to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.

PwC’s Dr Celine Herweijer, said: “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.”