Emissions worldwide would have to fall five times more than before

The Net Zero Economy Index: Global Decarbonization is well below target

Greenhouse gas emissions are falling too slowly worldwide: In order to achieve the 1.5 degree target of the Paris climate agreement, emissions would have to fall five times as much as in 2020, according to the Net Zero Economy Index of the British branch of the consulting firm PwC. The index assesses progress in decarbonizing energy-related emissions worldwide. The focus is on the G20, i.e. the 20 most important industrialized and emerging countries.

At first glance, the analysis comes to sobering results: In 2020, none of the countries considered achieved a sufficient decarbonization rate to achieve the global climate goals. But the experts assure us that the 1.5 degrees are not unattainable. They see cooperation with and promotion of climate protection measures in private companies as particularly crucial.

Necessary target rate far above the global average

The calculations of the Net Zero Economy Index show that an annual decarbonization rate of 12.9 percent is now necessary. Global greenhouse emissions would therefore have to decrease by this value every year and be reduced by half by 2030. In reality, however, the figures are much lower: Although global energy demand fell by 4.3 percent in 2020 and energy-related emissions fell by 5.6 percent compared to the previous year, the decarbonization rate was just 2.5 percent. The target decarbonization rate of 12.9 percent is five times as high.

In fact, no country was able to meet this quota in 2020. Only Mexico (12.4 percent) and Indonesia (10.6 percent) came close. However, the experts see the reason for this more in restrictions as a reaction to the global Covid 19 pandemic than in long-term efforts to protect the climate.

Stronger cooperation with the private sector is necessary

The Net Zero Economy Index assigns a decisive role in the implementation of climate measures to the private sector in the future. More companies than ever have committed to net zero targets in the last two years to align their corporate policies with international climate targets. However, since they will not be able to travel this path alone, the experts call for greater cooperation between sectors and across the entire industry. The study goes on to say that there should also be clear signals from the political side in the form of subsidies. Only then is it possible to keep the goal of net zero within reach.