The Paris Agreement is targeting a 12.9pc decarbonisation rate while Ireland’s overall emissions fell by only 3.6pc last year.
The global rate of decarbonisation must increase five times to meet the Paris Agreement climate goal, according to the PwC Net Zero Economy Index report launched today in Ireland
An annual decarbonisation rate of 12.9pc is now required to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celcius objective – more than five times greater than what was achieved over the last year.
“Sustaining Ireland’s 2020 rate of decarbonisation will require significant investment and bold action”
In Ireland, as reported by the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland’s overall emissions only fell by 3.6pc last year.
Globally, the rate of decarbonisation required to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celcius objective set out in the Paris Agreement is a multiple of the COVID-19 related decline experienced last year.
Net Zero Economy Index
The PwC Net Zero Economy Index 2021, which tracks the decarbonisation of energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide) finds that a decarbonisation rate of 12.9pc – more than five times greater than what was achieved over the last year (2.5pc) and eight times faster than the global average over the course of the 21st century – is required to halve global emissions by 2030 and to reach net zero by mid-century.
This is the trajectory needed to meet the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5°C and avoid catastrophic climate change.
Even with the global economic slowdown in 2020, no country in the Group of 20 (G20) was able to achieve the 12.9pc rate of decarbonisation required to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celcius.
PwC says that only a handful of countries have ever successfully achieved double-digit rates of decarbonisation. Although the majority of the G20 have set ambitious climate targets, these have yet to translate into clear policy actions that will deliver the changes needed.
Kim McClenaghan, partner at PwC Ireland said that delivering net zero by mid-century will require collaboration between sectors and across industry, however businesses can’t go it alone.
According to the EPA, overall greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland decreased 3.6pc in 2020 and energy industry emissions decreased by 7.9pc.This decrease in 2020 for Ireland was primarily driven by economic restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic, reduced peat use in power generation and an increase in renewable generation.
McClenaghan said Ireland’s window of opportunity is narrow so it’s imperative we take more decisive action now.
“Sustaining Ireland’s 2020 rate of decarbonisation will require significant investment and bold action,” McClenaghan said.
“Our research tells us that many of Ireland’s largest companies are making significant progress in committing to science-based targets, which is a very important step towards the highest ambition levels. However, there is more to do as PwC’s 2021 CEO survey highlighted a disconnect between the importance many CEOs place on climate change and how much they are prepared to invest towards a sustainable environment.”
Ireland’s climate ambition (the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 (and which was passed into law) sets out Ireland’s objective to achieve a climate-neutral economy no later than 2050, in line with the Paris agreement. Ambitious carbon budgets will now be approved, indicating a range of targets for each sector as binding goals. The importance of the nearer term targets are also essential if we are to halve emissions this decade.
McClenaghan said: “The scale and pace of the economic and societal change and investment needed to achieve these targets are significant, but they will be necessary to reduce our emissions consistently and achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal set by the Paris Agreement. All sectors of the economy will need to transform to deliver net zero.”
Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking at a rally ahead of COP26 climate change conference.