Thursday, November 29, 2012

PricewaterhouseCoopers Climate Change Warning

It may already be too late to keep global temperatures within the scientifically agreed upon upper threshold of 2 degrees. This is the conclusion of a report from the global business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Their report entitled "Too Late for Two Degrees?" suggests that even with a modest effort, global temperatures will continue to increase.

"Even doubling our current rate of decarbonization, would still lead to emissions consistent with 6 degrees of warming by the end of the century," noted Leo Johnson, a partner in PwC's Sustainability and Climate Change unit, in the report. "To give ourselves a more than 50 percent chance of avoiding 2 degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonization."

The PwC research indicates that to have even a modest chance of staying within the 2-degree threshold, the global economy would need to reduce overall carbon intensity by an unprecedented 5.1 percent every year for the next 40 years. This appears very unlikely in the context of the fossil-fuel dependent growth of the Chinese and Indian economies.

"Governments and businesses can no longer assume that a 2-degree Celsius warming world is the default scenario," the PwC authors declared. "Any investment in long-term assets or infrastructure, particularly in coastal or low-lying regions, needs to address more pessimistic scenarios. Sectors dependent on food, water, energy or ecosystem services need to scrutinize the resilience and viability of their supply chains."

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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