Keeping Warming Below 4°C Rise Requires 400% Increase in Decarbonization

contri/CC BY-SA 2.0

The President may have made passing mention of climate change in his speech last night, and has indeed spoken highly of clean energy (out of one side of the mouth, the other occupied with touting clean coal and oil drilling...), but don't let that someone lull you.

In fact, as a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and highlighted by Climate Progress shows, we are hugely failing to make enough progress in decarbonizing the economy, moving away from fossil fuels. In fact, we need much more than a redoubling of efforts.

Just check out this conclusion from the report:

Our Low Carbon Economy Index evaluates the rate of decarbonization of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2°C. This report shows that global carbon intensity decreased between 2000 and 2011 by around 0.8% a year. In 2011, carbon intensity decreased by 0.7%. The global economy now needs to cut carbon intensity by 5.1% every year from now to 2050. Keeping to the 2oC carbon budget will require sustained and unprecedented reductions over four decades. Governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2oC appear highly unrealistic. ... Even to have a reasonable prospect of getting to a 4°C scenario would imply nearly quadrupling the current rate of decarbonization.

Check out the report or the Climate Progress piece for analysis of this if you're so inclined, but if not, the take away is clearly that we're hugely off the mark in our efforts to avoid very dangerous climate changes. Business-as-usual is a tremendously rocky road to tread.

Tags: Carbon Emissions | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Solutions