Economy versus the Environment. This is a slogan for many when they consider the challenges of dealing with Climate Change and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In 2007, McKinsey issued Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost? that provided a a significant contribution to this discussion. McKinsey’s conclusion: at an “affordable” cost of well below $50 per ton, in aggregate, the United States can meet necessary 2030 targets for GHG emission reductions. All-in-all, this was quite good news for those advocating acting to deal with Climate Change.
There was (and is) reason why the original study and McKinsey’s continuing work in this arena have been widely discussed / cited over the past two years. And, variants of the graphic on cost abatement have shown up in briefing after briefing, article after article, book after book. Good news.
Or, well, is it? McKinsey’s work provides significant data that addressing the environment will have economic cost. Even if a low number, with many actions providing economic benefit, the McKinsey work has a serious underlying thematic: it will cost to address climate change.