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Sustainable Finance

Allocating the World's Carbon Budget

The world has a carbon budget. Deciding how to spend it is complicated, contentious and consequential.

It is unrealistic to expect emissions to fall at the same speed in all countries and in all sectors. But who should be doing the cutting, by how much and how fast to meet net-zero targets?

There is a lot of focus on the various net-zero commitments of countries and companies, but less on how this should be achieved. This is starting to change:

At the country level, structural issues and availability of resources will make decarbonisation efforts feel different, but to meet Paris goals all countries ought to decarbonise quickly.

At the sectoral level, things are more complicated, as large differences exist between the costs and abilities of different sectors to decarbonise. For investors, spotting and quantifying differences in decarbonisation costs and abilities is difficult.

In this report, we provide details on:

  • Who is spending the carbon budget
  • Projected CO2 emissions to meet the Paris climate agreement
  • Factors affecting the ability to decarbonise
  • Investor concerns
  • Transition pathways
  • The need for quality data


  • 900
    gigatons of CO2 emissions after 2020 gives an 83% chance of keeping warming below 2 degrees
  • 50%
    of global GHG emissions are emitted from China, US, EU and India
  • 97
    companies on the FTSE 100 disclose scope 1 and 2 emissions

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