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McKinsey Report On Climate Change

I have to admit, when I first read that analysts at McKinsey & Co were making global warming predictions, I was taken aback. Management consultants may be very smart, but most of them are not climate scientists by training…

After closer inspection, though, it became clear that the report mentioned in the headline was not about climate science. It was rather a broad, sweeping look at all of the different technologies out there that could potential reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the cialis from india next 20 years, and the relative costs and benefits of each.

In other words, this report gives a very realistic answer to the questions we’ve all been asking: 1. Can we keep CO2 emissions below dangerous levels? 2. What do we do? and 3. How much will it cost?

The short answer is: 1. Yes, 2. Improve energy efficiency, develop low carbon energy and conserve/replant forests, and 3. Between 500 and 800 billion Euros.

(To read either the executive summary or the full report, scroll to the bottom of this link)

For a bit more detail, keep reading…

There are many such reports out there. What makes McKinsey’s any different?

McKinsey is one of only here online viagra prescriptions the top (if not THE top) management consulting firms in the world. What management consultants are trained to do (and presumably, the folks over at McKinsey do this very well) is look at enormous quantities of data, analyze it, draw meaningful conclusions, and propose courses of action.

Granted, there are lots of people out there from all kinds of disciplines trying to do the same thing. There are academics, entrepreneurs, journalists, scientists and politicians who are all proposing different ways to cialis to buy address the issues, and all provide arguments in defense of their proposals. But when it comes to translating costs and benefits into cold, hard numbers – consultants are the professionals. They get paid the big bucks to advise not only Fortune 500 companies, but national governments and agencies as well, and for good reason.

Not to mention the fact that McKinsey has already conducted 10 separate greenhouse gas reduction studies over the past couple years. This report isn’t their first stab at the issue; data has improved and models have been refined. Nothing is oversimplified, yet the conclusions and direction is quite clear.

What does the report say that we don’t already know?

Well, like all big plans we hear about, be it from Google founders, Al Gore, President Obama, etc., there are always elements that seem obvious to EcoGeeks like us. For example, it’s obvious that we need to push and invest in renewable energy sources. It’s also obvious that there is a lot of energy efficiency improvements that could easily be made. And it’s obvious (at least to some of try viagra for free the more realistic EcoGeeks) that no matter how much you try to scare or guilt people, they will ultimately do what they like. Businesses will continue to try and make money rather than serve the common good. So any solution has to factor in basic economic principles and factor out behavioral changes (as it turns out, the McKinsey report quantifies the amount of carbon reduction that could happen if people made behavioral changes, but a) separates it from the other figures and b) shows that it is insignificant compared to the amount of carbon reduction that businesses could accomplish).

Without further ado, here are some of the highlights that I found interesting, although I encourage everyone to read the executive summary.

The magic number is 480
Based on what they have been told by the IPCC, they have concluded that if we can reduce GHG emissions by 35-40% by 2030, then CO2 levels should peak around 480 ppm. That should, in turn, stem global warming at about a 2 degrees Celcius increase.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of debate about these numbers in the scientific community. Some people might say that those 480 ppm aren’t as dangerous as that, while the New York Times just published an article saying that such a CO2 concentration might be even more dangerous than originally thought.

Either way, the point is that 480 ppm is the number McKinsey chose – expect to see it come up in future discussions.

Energy efficiency is easy, cheap and effective
The report refers to energy efficiency technologies as “low hanging fruit”. Although they won’t reduce as many tons of CO2 emissions as, say, carbon capture or renewable energy, they have negative costs – a fancy way of saying they are money-making technologies. These include more efficient manufacturing, more efficient car engines and more efficient building.

One interesting point about efficiency measures is that sometimes the people making the viagra scams canada decision to be inefficient are not affected by that decision, which makes it difficult to incentivize. For example, building a house with superior insulation is a no-brainer; the money it saves far outweighs the cost. But those benefits only affect the homeowner, not the builder and it is the builder who must decide to put in that insulation.

All told, if we adopt the efficiency measures proposed by McKinsey we could abate 14 gigatons of CO2 a year by 2030.

We need to shift from fossil fuels to low carbon fuels
Obviously, this is the part where we EcoGeeks go “duh”. But it’s important to know numbers. Although solar, wind, biofuels and CCS have potential to reduce emissions by the greatest amount, they also have the highest up-front costs. In other words, we could reduce tons of emissions if we blanket the desert with solar panels, but given the buy levitra no prescription cost of solar, that isn’t realistic.

What is realistic? About 12 gigatons of CO2 less per year by 2030. Notice how that is less than the amount we could reduce just by improving efficiency.

Trees are a cheap way to reduce emissions, but the politics are messy
We all know in the back of our head that it is important to have trees and link for you order levitra online canada forests, but it’s easy to forget about forests and focus only on power plants and automobiles. I personally didn’t realize the potential reductions that could come about if we preserve and replant forests. Another 12 gigatons.

That means that the forests that are getting destroyed (plus forests that could be replanted) are as powerful gobal-warming-fighters as ALL THE SOLAR PANELS WE COULD FEASIBLY BUILD IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS. Great news, right?

Well, the bad news is that most (over 90%) of these forests are located in the developing world. What that means is that the costs of viagra online generic preserving them are extremely high. You’d have to have a pretty hefty price tag on carbon in order for it to make economic sense for a citizen of such a country to choose to keep trees standing rather than cut them down and plant a lucrative farm. And these consultants don’t expect for a second that goodwill will prevail over those kinds of economics.

A few scenarios
The report suggests a few possible scenarios for 2030. In “Green world”, all of the abatement opportunities are followed, and emissions peak at 480 and settle down around 400. In the worst case scenario (“Least common denominator”), we reduce emissions somewhat, but CO2 levels are still way up in the 600 ppm range. The two in-between scenarios are “Developed world in the lead”, where only players like the US and the EU improve technologies, and “Global action”, where everyone chips in, but doesn’t reach the full potential of “Green world”. In the former, CO2 peaks at 550 and stabilizes there, while in the latter it peaks at 510 and settles down at 450.

I highly encourage anyone interested to read the report. Hopefully these numbers should spark discussions – not just among EcoGeeks, but among policymakers.

Via Green Inc

Hits: 18522
Comments (14)Add Comment
written by Poopraham, January 27, 2009
Could you post a link to the report?
One issue, however
written by Doug, January 27, 2009
Hank, This is a bit of a controversial report that McKinsey developed. While it's a perfectly sound set of logic behind it, it does not acknowledge the accelerating nature to the climate change problem. In other words, it assumes that a pound of CO2 today is as damaging as a pound of CO2 tomorrow. Climate change is a nonlinear (exponential, logarithmic, etc) function where a pound of CO2 today may be worth 3 pounds of CO2 tomorrow. McKinsey assumes that associated abatement costs are linear.

The ramifications on this report would be that their suggested order of only now online viagra prescriptions abatement would be different. It shouldn't be a linear stair step, but perhaps a sine wave - where we tackle the viagra soft tabs most expensive issues in the medium-term, not the longer term.
link posted
written by Yoni, January 27, 2009
Sorry! I just put up the link
Negative Cost Chopped
written by Carl, January 27, 2009
The direct link to the summary is reported by google:

The graph showing amounts ordered by cost/ton-CO2 is really interesting. The reproduction above chops off the negative cost-- pretty much the same as in our mind-set. If the cost savings are added to the additional expenses, it turns out that we can reduce CO2 in this scenario with near net-zero cost. Also interesting is that electronics offer the highest negative cost and a significant amount of savings compared to other areas, e.g. car fuel economy.

I think there may be many assumptions to quibble about in deriving the numbers, but this is a good way to view the options, and highlights the purchase of viagra cost advantage (an economic boost) in many options. [The hybrid car cost doesn't make sense as large positive-- the extra cost of my hybrid is still negative even at $2/gal gas.]
written by Carl, January 27, 2009
The link to the executive summary was chopped. If this still does not work, Google: McKinsey Report On Climate Change
America's Gone Green
written by Fred, January 27, 2009
Check out this Green Home Show promoting awareness to the Green Movement Coming next year to TV, looks good.

It is produced by Carbon America.

Carbon America intends to promote awareness of the world’s green movement and America’s carbon footprint reduction. Their strategies is to show America and buy levitra no prescription the world how being green can be affordable and the return on investment to viagra superactive the planet and our pockets can be sizable. Their intention is to help the global environment by appealing to the general public through the mass media. Specifically, by capitalizing on “Green Game Shows” and “Green Reality Show" trends.

The Show is called “America’s Gone Green” along with two spins off shows “Green Improvements” and “Green Seeding”

“America’s Gone Green”
The Game format is as follows.
The purpose of game show is for America to determine which contestants home is the greenest and has the smallest carbon foot print while retaining mass market appeal or “green sex appeal”. Once the home has been qualified contestants receive cash to improve on their homes and carbon footprint and compete with other qualifying round winners.
The format will be similar to other shows consisting of Subject Matter Experts (SME) as panel judges intermixed with celebrities or other notable figures that are currently identified with the “Green” movement. These SME judges could include professionals and members of organizations such as LEED, Green Building Council, and Energy Star.
The final winner will receive a lump sum cash prize donation for to their favorite Green organization.
The process will consist of qualifying rounds and try it what is the cost of viagra a final round elimination. Outlined below are the proposed recommendations for each round.

Check out the rest of the Game info at

Looks great, I think these guys got the uk suppliers generic viagra right ideas appealing to the mass media, what do you think?
Energy efficiency
written by Chris, January 28, 2009
Good to see that energy efficiency is getting some attention by the McKinsey people. As every true EcoGeek knows, not only do we need to invest in renewable energy technology, we also have to make transportation, production, travel, lighting etc. much more energy efficient. As great as that new wind or solar farm is, it can not solve the problem if the energy demand keeps going up.
written by bill, January 28, 2009
You are using an image which is unreadable. Why can't you provide a full sized graphic?
Not terribly fond of it's cool cheapest prices for levitra McKinsey
written by David Ahlport, January 28, 2009
They make some pretty weird assumptions.
And their units are in "Marginal Cost if it were expensed in 2050", which is a pretty weird metric.
Should also be noted
written by David Ahlport, January 28, 2009
McKinsey and Co is the same group that told AT&T to get out of the cellphone market in the 1980's

Costing AT&T billions.
written by Ekaterina Tsvetkova, January 29, 2009
Great post, Yoni! More and more companies nowadays are taking actions to reduce their CO2 emissions. But when talking about carbon footprints, it’s imperative that the data has been verified as free of greenwash. Maybe one day an audited carbon footprint report will be as required as an audited financial report! Verified carbon reports, published on an established registry like the GHG CleanStart™ Registry from CSA (, help stakeholders make informed decisions.
480 is suicide - 300 for a safe climate
written by Paul, January 29, 2009
If McKinsey think that 480 is worth writing about as a basis for fighting dangerous climate change then they are either pandering to their client base and don't want to upset them or are not reading anything about arctic ice, any of James Hansen's work or considering how badly the IPCC has underestimated the rapidity of climate change eg Arctic Ice, melting of the Tundra and risk of methane clathrates being released.

Having said that, maybe another scenario or pathway for reductions and costs estimates is worth while and at least major corporates will be impressed by the relative cheapness and where to get viagra cheap start going hard for the low hanging fruit which has short term paybacks.
page problem
written by Joe, January 31, 2009
Great article and commentary, but the graphic on the page is messed up, with ads, categories, and article names covering up the text of levitra non prescription the post. Thanks.
Government mandates
written by ellenbetty, August 01, 2009
Every time I drive I get passed by aggressive speeding drivers multiple times. Everyone knows that aggressive driving/speeding cuts fuel economy in 1/2. Aggressive driving doubles CO2 air pollution released by such drivers. Such research is of little value unless the US Government forces automobile manufactures to build vehicles with updatable GPS systems that prevent speeding. The US government should require radar/laser braking controls that prevents tail gating. The US government should require all larger heavier vehicles to have sensors that prevent unsafe lane changes. That added price on larger heavier vehicles will force more people to buy small fuel price economy vehicles, without all those mandatory driving/braking control systems.

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