UK Sets An Annual Record In The Low Carbon Economy Index

Topping the G20 in the Low Carbon Economy Index, the UK has seen a 10.9% year on year decline in greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy usage.

Through analysis of major economies’ carbon intensity conducted by PwC, the UK’s 10.9% reduction was found to be larger than any that has been reported in PwC’s analysis within the last seven years.

The UK’s success becomes even more impressive given the recent changes to the Climate Change Levy, Green Deal, and renewables incentives. Designed to facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy, the changes have raised concerns regarding the stability of both the regulation and incentives.

Given such concerns, the PwC report regards the UK’s performance as “exceptional”. However, the report also outlines the importance of the closure of coal fired power stations, strong economic growth and a warmer winter as contributory factors to the low carbon growth, stating that the performance owes more to “circumstance than policy”.

Offering his thoughts, PwC sustainability and climate change director Jonathan Grant commented:

“While the annual record for the UK is headline grabbing, it’s the UK’s consistent performance since 2000, reducing carbon intensity by 3.3% on average a year that is notable. It’s critical to at a minimum, maintain it, and ideally increase it.

The level the UK achieved is more than twice the level achieved globally, and with a deal in Paris on long term climate change on the horizon, is a strong long term competitive positioning.

“While business should expect and plan for more regulation on carbon emissions, this shows the UK has a head start on other countries. Maintaining the UK’s leadership requires stability not surprises in government policy.”

It is important to note however, that for the seventh successive year, the level of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP required to limit global warming to 2°C has been missed.

To limit global average temperature rise to 2°C, swift, sustained global decarbonisation of around 6.3% annually is required.

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