After reporting in 2013 that the global carbon budget will be blown by 2021, global consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is out with a new report that says the world's decarbonization efforts are severely lagging.
Two degrees of separation: ambition and reality, Low Carbon Economy Index 2014 says that to limit warming to 2 degrees Centigrade above pre-Industrial levels, the global economy needs to cut its carbon intensity by 6.2% a year, every year from now to 2100 - more than five times its current rate of reduction.
PwC unfolds the indictment of weak, to inadvertent, to non-existent policies in response to an existential threat:
Emissions per unit of GDP fell in 2013 by 1.2%, marginally better than the average decrease of 0.9% since 2000. But with such limited progress in decoupling emissions growth from GDP growth, the gap between what we are doing and what we need to do has again grown, for the sixth year running. The average annual rate of decarbonisation required for the rest of this century for us to stay within the two degree budget now stands at 6.2%...While negotiations focus on policies to limit warming to 2°C, based on the decarbonisation rates of the last six years, we are headed for 4°C of warming in global average temperature by the end of the century, with severe consequences identified by the IPCC for ecosystems, livelihoods and economies.
In economic terms, PwC says that no one will be spared the price of our folly:
The physical impacts of climate change will vary from country to country, and some countries may find that the impacts within its own borders are relatively limited or in some cases benign. But in a highly globalised economy, no country is likely to be spared as the impacts of climate change ripple around the world, affecting interdependent supply chains and flows of people and investment.Four degrees Centigrade of warming will be catastrophic. Our grandchildren will inherit a fundamentally different world.
PwC's analysis makes for grim reading.