Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not sure what to do about GHG emissions? Hire a consultant!

McKinsey, perhaps the most esteemed management consulting firm around, is well known for the good advice it gives to the world's leading corporations. It seems doing something about climate change is part of that sage counsel -- and it strikes me that organizations that are interested in being successful should pay attention.

From McKinsey's website, here is the "central conclusion" of their recent study on the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in America:

The United States could reduce GHG emissions in 2030 by 3.0 to 4.5 gigatons of CO2e using tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies. These reductions would involve pursuing a wide array of abatement options with marginal costs less than $50 per ton, with the average net cost to the economy being far lower if the nation can capture sizable gains from energy efficiency. Achieving these reductions at the lowest cost to the economy, however, will require strong, coordinated, economy-wide action that begins in the near future.
There are a number of notable other conclusions in McKinsey's report, which you can download here. I'll share a few, but encourage you to at least browse the executive summary of the report:
  • 40% of the greenhouse gas reduction opportunities identified by McKinsey can be had at a net savings to the economy, i.e. they will make use richer.
  • The fast-growing Southeast has the greatest potential for GHG reductions -- don't believe the hype that growth mandates dirty patterns of development.
  • 30% of the greenhouse gas reduction potential resides in the power generation sector. That means the Santee Coopers of the world have both an extraordinary responsibility as well as an unrivaled opportunity to do something about the global warming problem they've had a large part in creating. This is just another reason we can't allow Santee Cooper to hold back progress by building a coal plant that will emit nearly 9 million tons of CO2 annually.
For climate deniers and coal-partisans, a blog like this is an easy target. So its always nice when you can refer folks to McKinsey & Co. Its hard to argue with the market economy's best and brightest.

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