Monday, September 15, 2014

We are Running out of Time to Avert a Climate Catastrophe (PwC Report)

PricewaterhousCoopers (PwC) is hardly known for hyperbole, but their latest report warns of catastrophe if we fail to reign in carbon emissions. The report says that every passing year we are getting further away from averting a climate disaster.

PwC's “Low Carbon Economy Index,” chronicles our ongoing failure to act on the climate crisis. They refer to an “unmistakable trend” of growing emissions and a warming world. The report states that we have failed to do what we must to keep temperatures below the internationally agreed upon upper threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The consequences of failing to act include food security threats, coastal inundation, extreme weather events, ecosystem shifts, and widespread species extinction.

The PwC report clearly states that, “the gap between what we are doing and what we need to do has again grown, for the sixth year running.”

If we continue on our current trajectory we will see temperature increases of 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

To succeed in keeping temperatures within manageable limits the global economy needs to “decarbonize” by 6.2 percent every year until the end of the century.

The report singles out countries that are leading carbon emissions per unit of GDP. They include United States, Germany, and India who are still adding carbon intensity, year-on-year. The report further states that we are running out of time to avert a climate catastrophe.

"The timeline is also unforgiving. The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and others have estimated that global emissions will need to peak around 2020 to meet a 2°C [3.6 degrees F] budget,” the report says. “This means that emissions from the developed economies need to be consistently falling, and emissions from major developing countries will also have to start declining from 2020 onwards.”

If we are to keep temperatures within acceptable limits, G20 nations will need to cut their annual energy-related emissions by one-third by 2030, and by just over half by 2050.

This report adds to the building pressure to come up with a global agreement on climate change by 2015.

To read the report click here (PDF),

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