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Deep decarbonisation: industry pathways to achieving the 2°C goal

There is a need for radical decarbonisation... However this challenge is compounded not only with the reality that over the next two decades there will be 2 billion more people living ever-more carbon-intensive lifestyles, but also by the challenge of reconciling poverty reduction (and economic growth) with deep decarbonisation.

At the very heart of the decarbonisation challenge is the simple question - who is responsible for what level of carbon reduction?

For example, should developing countries be able to increase their carbon emissions as part of their economic development? At a national level, much has been said about this notion of common-but-differentiated responsibilities (i.e., that everyone needs to take common responsibility for this global challenge, but with different levels of response). Less, however, has been discussed about allocating the remaining global budget amongst industrial sectors. This is a key issue, as businesses are both key contributors to climate change (releasing 49 Gt of GHG emissions each year) and also critical drivers for poverty reduction.

One tool to map out the pathway to a low-carbon future is the Sectoral Decarbonization Approach (SDA), which allocates the 2°C carbon budget to different sectors. This method takes into account inherent differences among sectors, such as mitigation potential and, critically, how fast each sector can grow relative to economic and population growth.

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