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Despite a significant increase in renewable energy in 2018, global CO2 emissions grew by 2% last year. It is the fastest increase in emissions since 2011. At the same time, the decarbonisation of the industry flattened out to only half (1.6%) of the percentage in 2015 (3.3%) when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed. This is one of the conclusions from the recently published report 'Low Carbon Economy Index 2019' by PwC UK.
Editorial office / London

The global GDP grew by 3.7% last year, mainly due to emerging economies, with growth of more than 5% in China, India and Indonesia. The demand for energy increased as a result, which was mainly met by fossil fuels.

Renewable energy grew at the highest rate since 2010 at 7.2% in the same period. The share of renewable energy in the total energy system is however still less than 12%.

Feasibility of climate goals

PwC concludes that the countries will not even achieve their own national climate targets at this rate. For the G20 economies, this amounts to 3% decarbonization per year until 2030. To limit global warming to 2 degrees, a decarbonization percentage of 7.5% per year is required. For comparison: France decarbonised 4% per year during the switch to nuclear energy in the 1980s and the US decarbonized 3% per year in the shale gas revolution.

In 2019 – the year of raising the ambition – a number of countries tightened their CO2 reduction targets to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. However, according to PwC, the chances of achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement are continuously declining.

Huge gap

“It is worrying that progress on climate seems to have stalled,” said Jonathan Grant, director of PwC. “There is a huge gap between the rhetoric of the ‘climate emergency’ and the reality of an inadequate global response.”

The report concludes that the situation is becoming increasingly difficult to manage for companies. Businesses are now having to deal with increasing intensity of climate impacts and extreme weather events, alongside an incoherent policy response around the world.