Exactly how fast do we need to decarbonise to get to net zero?

By Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader, PwC UK

We have reached code red for humanity. As the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns, there is now more than a 50% chance that we will reach 1.5°C warming within the next two decades if emissions continue at their current rates.

It’s clear that we have to act immediately because, with every fraction of a degree of warming, the negative impacts of climate change increase exponentially and we move closer to breaching critical tipping points in the climate system.

Over the last year, the private sector, public sector and national governments have moved to enhance ambition to act on climate change - over two-thirds of global GDP is covered by a net zero target. 

But how fast do we need to decarbonise every year in order to get to net zero? The PwC Net Zero Economy Index 2021 finds that we need a five-fold increase on current decarbonisation rates if we have any hope of keeping the 1.5°C target in reach. 

Strengthened national targets, underpinned by policies that will deliver change at the pace and scale required, will be key - which is why what happens at the COP26 meeting is so important. In addition, keeping the 1.5°C target in reach will involve a major commitment from every business in every part of the world. We have to accelerate our actions now, and we have to ensure a just transition both within and between countries, with no one left behind.

Read the full report to see just how much your business sector and region is contributing at the moment, and how much it needs to up its game.

Contact us

Emma Cox

Emma Cox

Global Climate Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7973 317011