Counting the cost of carbon
For the first time we have made no improvement in our rate of decarbonisation. We have in fact increased the carbon intensity of growth. The economic recovery, where it has occurred, has been dirty. Even where there has been growth in OECD countries during the global financial crisis, it has not been decoupled from carbon. The rapid growth of high carbon intensive emerging economies in this period, has also pushed up the average carbon intensity of the global economy.
In sum, the 2011 PwC Low Carbon Economy Index shows that the G20 economies have moved from travelling too slowly in the right direction, to travelling in the wrong direction. The annual percentage reduction now required is 4.8% per year, a figure in excess of what has been proven to be historically sustainable. The results call into question the current likelihood of our global decarbonisation ever happening rapidly enough to avoid 2 degrees of global warming. But 2011 has thrown up a second challenge as well. The events of the Arab Spring
have shown the social, economic and political necessity of delivering not just low carbon growth, but growth that delivers on the basic needs, including power, of the billions at the bottom of the pyramid.
It's around this emerging and complex challenge, delivering inclusive green growth at scale, that this year's Low Carbon Economy Index aims to give some context.