Progress in the G20

Low Carbon Economy Index 2014 | 2 degrees of separation: ambition and reality

In last year's Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) we calculated that the global economy needed to reduce carbon intensity (the amount of carbon emissions per unit of GDP) by 6.0% a year to limit warming to 2oC. An unexpected champion surpassed this – Australia recorded a decarbonisation rate of 7.2% over 2013 putting it top of the table for the second year in a row. Three other countries – the UK, Italy and China – achieved a decarbonisation rate of between 4% and 5%. Five countries increased their carbon intensity over 2013. Overall, however, as a result of the failure to achieve a global decarbonisation rate of 6.0%, the challenge is now tougher still: the path to 2100 requires an annual global average of decarbonisation rate of 6.2%.

This year also sees a reversal of an emissions trend between the G7 and E7 economies. Since LCEI started, the G7 has consistently outpaced the E7 in reducing carbon intensity, but in 2013, for the first time, the E7 averaged a 1.7% reduction in carbon intensity, while the G7 only managed 0.2%. This is significant for the E7, showing that it is possible to maintain economic growth while slowing the rate of growth in emissions. Nevertheless, as the main manufacturing hubs of the world, the E7 economies continue to have total carbon emissions 1.5 times larger than that of the G7, so sustained decarbonisation by the E7 will be vital for a low carbon global economy.

Low Carbon Economy Index – country summary

2012-2013 Five year trend
Country Change in energy related emissions Real GDP growth (PPP) Carbon Intensity (tCO2/2013$m) Change in carbon intensity Annual average change in carbon intensity Average Change in GDP
  2012-2013 2012-2013 2013 2012-13 2008-2013 2008-2013
World 1.8% 3.1% 323 -1.2% -0.6% 2.8%
G7 1.2% 1.3% 281 -0.2% -1.9% 0.6%
E7 3.5% 5.4% 404 -1.7% -0.3% 6.1%
Australia -4.7% 2.7% 338 -7.2% -4.6% 2.4%
UK -3.2% 1.7% 206 -4.8% -2.9% 0.1%
Italy -5.9% -1.9% 172 -4.1% -2.9% -1.6%
China 3.4% 7.7% 561 -4.0% -1.6% 8.9%
South Africa -1.1% 1.9% 635 -3.0% -3.0% 1.8%
EU -2.5% 0.1% 209 -2.5% -2.3% -0.2%
Canada -0.6% 2.0% 375 -2.5% -1.9% 1.3%
South Korea 0.5% 3.0% 435 -2.4% 0.2% 3.0%
Japan -0.8% 1.5% 285 -2.3% -0.5% 0.3%
Argentina 1.7% 3.0% 190 -1.2% -2.4% 4.5%
Saudi Arabia 2.8% 3.8% 380 -1.0% 0.7% 4.2%
Turkey 3.3% 4.0% 217 -0.7% -1.4% 3.7%
Russia 0.6% 1.3% 458 -0.7% -0.7% 1.0%
Mexico 0.7% 1.1% 231 -0.3% 0.6% 1.6%
Indonesia 5.7% 5.8% 206 -0.1% 1.3% 5.9%
France 0.5% 0.2% 145 0.3% -2.0% 0.1%
US 2.5% 1.9 326 0.6% -2.4% 1.0%
India 6.0% 5.0% 271 0.9% -0.7% 6.7%
Germany 3.3% 0.4% 224 2.9% -0.9% 0.6%
Brazil 8.1% 2.5% 157 5.5% 1.8% 2.6%