McKinsey Study Outlines Path to New, Green Economy

Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:21pm EST

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Current Technology Could Reduce Emissions 55 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030
WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
On the day that President Obama is releasing his plan to create a new, green
economy, McKinsey and Company has issued a ground-breaking report that outlines
a path toward realizing the President`s goal by showing how current technology,
if fully deployed, could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of
the technologies identified in the report would provide savings to consumers and
create thousands of new, green-collar jobs. 

"This report provides further evidence that we can grow our economy and cut
greenhouse gas emissions at the same time," said Dr. Richard Moss, WWF vice
president for climate change. "If the policies were in place to force the
broader deployment of the technologies highlighted in this report, thousands of
new jobs would be created across the country. And these new job-generating
technologies would put us on a path for dramatically reducing emissions and
keeping global average temperatures from rising above the dangerous threshold of
2 degrees Celsius, or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit." 

Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy, one of the largest and most detailed reports
of its kind, lists more than 200 opportunities, spread across ten sectors and
twenty-one geographical regions, that have the potential to cut global
greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, a reduction of
70 percent from the business as usual scenario. The study was supported by ten
sponsors, including World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and energy, automotive and
technology companies. 

The report is a refined version of a previously-released Greenhouse Gas
Emissions Abatement Cost Curve that compares the relative costs of using
different technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the
technologies highlighted in the report have negative cost - that is the savings
they would generate would more than offset the cost of implementation, thereby
providing savings to consumers. 

"The report demonstrates that we can save money for consumers if we enact some
relatively straightforward policies and measures to overcome market barriers and
failures that impede adoption of low-cost energy efficiency and alternative
energy technologies," said Moss. "By reducing energy consumption, we could also
lower energy imports and increase our energy security." 

By 2030, the report finds that wind, solar and other sustainable renewable
energy sources could be rapidly scaled up, while energy efficiency could reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by more than a quarter. The report states that
deforestation in developing countries, the source of nearly 20 percent of global
emissions and a major threat to sustainable development, could be almost fully

McKinsey concludes that the total cost of implementing all of the measures
contained in the report would be less than one half of one percent of global
gross domestic product. However, the report does not include the economic costs
that would result from escalating climate change impacts if emissions are not
reduced. "This makes acting to use these technologies even more of a
no-brainer," said Moss. "If we fail to act, climate change will alter water
resources, agriculture, and ecosystems, resulting in impacts on the economy and
human health that could run to the billions of dollars annually in the United
States alone. By reducing emissions, we will avoid some of the worst damages and
leave the world`s natural heritage intact for future generations." 

The McKinsey study has been extensively peer-reviewed by scientists, economists
and expert bodies, including WWF. It presents its findings in the form of an
"abatement cost curve" which graphically illustrates the sectors in which the
most cost-effective carbon reductions can be made. 


The McKinsey report, Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy, is available online:


WWF is the world`s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries
for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members
worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve
the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the
environment and combat climate change. Visit to learn

Joe Pouliot
Mobile: 202-476-9919

Copyright Business Wire 2009