UK sets record for low carbon growth
The UK tops the G20 in PwC’s 2015 Low Carbon Economy Index, with a record breaking 10.9% year-on-year decline in greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy usage.
The analysis describes the performance as “exceptional” but cautions that it owes more to “circumstance than policy” with the closure of coal fired power stations, strong economic growth and a warmer winter among the factors.
Key findings are as follows:
- The UK lowered its energy related emissions by 8.7% while delivering strong GDP growth of 2.6%.
- The fall in emissions resulted from both an absolute reduction in energy consumption of 6.3%, to levels lower than recorded in 1990, and a shift away from carbon intensive fuels.
- The biggest driver of the fall in emissions was a reduction in coal consumption of just over 20%, taking total coal consumption to less than half of its 1990 level.
- This was supported by a 19% increase in renewable energy consumption, taking renewables’ share in overall energy consumption to 8.3%.
- Overall the rate of carbon emissions per million dollars of GDP reduced by 3.3% a year on average since 2000, higher than Germany, France, the US, China and the EU average.
Jonathan Grant, director PwC sustainability and climate change, comments: “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.”
He adds: “For London’s financial markets, the global climate deal expected in December in Paris, has the potential to herald a new era for the sector, to support the financing of an estimated $700bn per annum investment needed in the EU and China alone to transition to a low carbon economy.”