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The slow rate of emissions cuts in major economies has put the world on track for "at least six degrees of warming" by the end of the century.
New research by consultancy giant PwC finds an unprecedented 5.1 per cent annual cut in global emissions per unit of GDP, known as carbon intensity, is needed through to 2050 if the world is to avoid the worst effects of climate change and meet an internationally agreed target of limiting average temperature increases to just two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Such deep reductions in carbon intensity would be over six times greater than the 0.8 per cent average annual cuts achieved since 2000.
It warns that industrialised countries must accelerate their partially successful efforts to reduce carbon emissions. PwC calculates the UK still needs to reduce carbon emissions intensity 5.2 per cent each year to honour its international commitments, adding that staying within the UK's pledge of 34 per cent reduction against 1990 emissions levels by 2020 would require emissions cuts equivalent to shutting down all the UK's coal-fired power plants
Possibly as expected - The report also confirms that greatest rises in greenhouse gas emissions came from the emerging E7 economies of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey, whose cumulative 7.4 per cent annual increase in emissions swamped record levels of reductions in the UK, France, and Germany. But this we know and have to work around in a liberal and fair society that must accept convergence as a solution rather than a ''well we are doomed then'' response.
PwC warns sustained economic growth in these countries could "lock in" high carbon assets that will make it significantly harder for them to decarbonise over the coming decades, a point likely to be raised at the UN-backed Doha Climate Summit when it kicks off later this month.
The report concludes that "governments and businesses can no longer assume that a two-degree warming world is the default scenario", and urges greater planning to cope with the disruptive effects that more unpredictable and extreme weather will have on supply chains, long-term assets, and infrastructure, particularly in coastal or low-lying regions.