Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) predicts that unless policy makers adopt radical new measures to reduce the level of carbon emissions, the world faces a dangerous two degrees centigrade increase in our lifetimes. They even suggest that this estimate is on the conservative side, predicting a potential four to six degree global increase in temperatures if things stay as they are.
The PwC report calls on governments to face up to their commitments to stave off the damage caused by global climate change by supporting non-carbon emitting energy sources
The professional services firm PwC compiles an annual Low carbon economy index measuring ‘the rate of change of global carbon intensity’. The carbon intensity of an economy is its emissions per unit of GDP. It is affected by a country’s fuel mix, its energy efficiency and the composition of the economy (i.e. extent of activity in carbon-intensive sectors). This carbon intensity can be tracked over time to show the rate at which an economy is increasing or decreasing its carbon emissions. According to the PwC report, carbon intensity globally reduced between 2000 and 2011 by around 0.8% a year. In 2011, carbon intensity decreased by just 0.7%. This is cause for serious alarm. The rate at which our carbon emissions would have to reduce annually in order to meet the target which would keep a global temperature increase in or around the barely manageable 2 deg C point would have to be 5.1% reduction, every year for the next 39 years.
In other words to keep global warming just about bearable we will have to increase our rate of carbon emission reduction sevenfold for the next forty years.
PwC predict that if we fail to do so we may face disastrous temperature increases of between 4 to 6 deg C. To see what that would look like, read this New Scientist article and then go to the google earth resource .
The Irish figures on carbon intensity are provided by the eu and are available here.