UK leads the G20 in decarbonisation

The UK leads the G20 in having the most rapid decarbonisation rate since 2000, at 3.7 per cent, however, the rate of progress has slowed and the gap to meet climate targets is widening.

To achieve the UK’s pledge to became the first major economy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, it will require an annual reduction in carbon intensity of 9.7per cent, according to PwC latest Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI).

The majority of the UK’s recent emissions reductions have come from the phase-out of coal. But his represents a ‘one-ff’ reduction and finding further reductions will be more difficult. Between 2012 and 2016, peak coal phase-out years, the UK achieved an annual average rate of decarbonisation of 6.9 per cent. It was only in 2014 that the UK achieved the 9.7 per cent required decarbonisation rate for net zero.

The electrification of sectors such as transport and heating needs to be met by the scaling up of renewables and increased investment in clean energy sources, advanced storage solutions, and smart grids. Negative emissions technologies such as carbon capture and storage will need to be scaled, and improved agriculture and land use practices will be critical for removing carbon from the atmosphere and restoring carbon sinks.

Commenting on what businesses need from government to enable the net zero transition Dr Celine Herweijer, partner at PwC UK and Global Climate Change Leader at PwC, said: “Achieving net-zero will require companies across all sectors to transform, drive innovation and grow whilst managing transition risks. This needs to happen at scale and speed over the coming two to three business cycles. It’s one thing for leading companies to set ambitious targets, but the ability to meet these will need strong government action to stimulate new market solutions.”

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