Global investment giant warns at current rate the world is on course for 3.8C of warming by the end of the century

Schroders: Progress on climate and clean energy stalling despite net zero pledges

Global investment giant warns at current rate the world is on course for 3.8C of warming by the end of the century 

Despite encouraging recent net zero emissions commitments from major economies such as the UK and France, fossil fuel energy sources are continuing to grow worldwide with effective action from wealthier countries to halt climate change still sorely lacking.

That is the stark assessment offered by analysts at investment giant Schroders yesterday as it released the latest update to its Climate Dashboard forecasting tool.

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The report warns the world is currently on track for an average temperature rise of 3.8C by the end of the century, based on the latest data from the second quarter of 2019 - a forecast which is unchanged from Schroders' projections in the previous quarter.

The expected temperature rise, which would be far above the 2C lower ambition target set out in the Paris Agreement, is the result of continuing growth in fossil fuel energy sources which is offsetting the sizeable gains made in developing and rolling out clean energy sources, Schroders said.

While last year saw a 15 per cent rise in energy produced from renewables, global energy generated from fossil fuels still grew by 2.5 per cent, representing an absolute increase more than twice as large as growth from all other non-fossil sources of energy combined, it said.

The continued increase in emissions comes despite recent pledges to cut domestic greenhouse gases to zero by the middle of the century in the UK, France, and a number of other countries.

The new goals mean 16 per cent of global GDP is now covered by net zero targets, according to estimates from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

However, while global renewable energy capacity has almost doubled since 2010, equating to roughly one third of new power capacity over the period, any gains have been "overwhelmed" by slowing improvements in the energy intensity of the economy, Schroders warned.

Andrew Howard, head of sustainable research at the financial giant said the world's wealthier countries still needed to do much more to tackle climate change.

"Headlines heralding toughening national policies and rising clean energy may paint a positive picture but our analysis underlines the importance of an evidence-based view of the trajectory of climate action," he said. "For example, while the global energy system is decarbonising, rising demand for energy more than offset the benefits."

However, Howard welcomed growing public awareness about climate change, which he said had been attracting increased interest from the media and businesses.

"That coverage has an increasingly urgent tone, reflecting growing recognition of the scale of the problem and the closing window to limit the long term impacts of rising temperatures," he added.

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