The UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 presents a crucial opportunity for global leaders to lay the framework for a low carbon economy. Despite delays and challenges in the final stages of the negotiations, pledges from many of the world’s largest economies in the immediate run up to the event have added new momentum to the Copenhagen process. The priority now is to convert these into an ambitious global deal, with the appropriate mechanism and adequate funding to deliver it. There is mounting scientific and political consensus around the need to limit warming to 2°C. Three questions are therefore paramount:
- Carbon budgets: What are the global and national carbon budgets that this translates into?
- Adequacy of commitments: Will the sum of national commitments made at Copenhagen keep us within the carbon budget?
- Policy framework: Will governments implement a set of national policies to ensure they meet these targets?
To help assess the velocity of this transition to a low carbon economy, PricewaterhouseCoopers has developed two new indices for the G20 economies:
- The PwC Low Carbon Achievement (LCA) Index, which assesses how much progress countries have made this century in reducing the carbon intensity¹ of their economies; and
- the PwC Low Carbon Challenge (LCC) Index, which assesses the ‘distance to go’ for key countries in reducing their carbon intensity.
The index looks at the period from 2000 to 2050, and an intermediate timeframe to 2020. Four economies, the US, China, India and the EU, are key to tackling change, as they make up 63% of the global carbon budget. For the US, China and India, and representing the EU, the UK, we have identified:
- Carbon Budgets: a national carbon budget for 2000 – 2050.
- Commitment Gap: the adequacy of the current reduction commitments relative to that budget.
- Policy Gap: the adequacy of the current policy framework as a means of driving the required emissions reductions.