UK leads the world in clean growth

The UK and China are the only two G20 countries reducing their carbon intensity in line with targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2˚C.

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That is according to a report released today by PwC, which shows G20 nations collectively reduced their carbon intensity by around 2.6% over the past three years – less than half the 6.3% required.

In contrast, Britain and China recorded reductions of 7.7% and 6.5% respectively in 2016, managing to cut coal consumption and improve energy efficiency, while growing their economies at the same time.

“When it comes to action on climate change and the two degrees goal, the gulf between the best and worst performing nations is widening,” PwC director of climate change, Jonathan Grant, said.

“As countries prepare to discuss raising the ambition of their national targets in Bonn next week, our report emphasis that the Paris Agreement will only be possible if they are serious about accelerating action.”

PwC’s research involved tracking G20 countries’ progress in reducing their energy-related greenhouse gas emissions per million dollars of GDP over the last nine years.

It was found that the growth in global CO2 emissions slowed in 2016, rising by just 0.4%, while GDP increased by 3.1%, with decarbonisation increasing since 2014.

Although the UK and China have significantly curbed their coal consumption, the findings show that other countries like India, Turkey and Indonesia have filled the gap.

As a result, coal consumption only fell by 1.4% last year and still accounts for a third of the world’s energy needs, while oil and gas consumption increased by 1.8%.

Grant explains how this is creating problems for businesses, with a lack of government leadership causing firms to assume global warming will surpass the 2˚C target.  

“Despite the increase in carbon pricing regulation in countries around the world, the price signal is often too feeble to prompt significant low-carbon investment,” he continued.

“Many companies are now planning for a range of potential outcomes including an increase in extreme weather and other climate impacts.”

 

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