Groundbreaking Analysis Finds Abundant, Low-Cost U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Opportunities

November 29, 2007



Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense, 202-210-5791

(Washington – November 29, 2007) A groundbreaking independent analysis of greenhouse gas emissions reduction opportunities across the U.S. economy shows that projected emissions could be cut by as much as one-half by 2030 at a manageable cost, and without major technological breakthroughs or significant changes in consumer behavior.

 “This study shows that with the right national policy – and a quick start – we can go almost all the way with the technologies and lifestyles we have today,” said Peter Goldmark, Director of the Climate and Air Program at Environmental Defense, a sponsor of the report. “Few of these opportunities can be realized without the right policy incentives, and many of them could slip away if we don’t grab them soon.”
“It’s up to Congress now to help companies grab the low-hanging fruit with a smart, market-driven policy,” Goldmark added.
The study, Reducing US Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?, found that emissions reductions along the lines of climate change legislation pending in Congress can be achieved by 2030 with proven and emerging technologies, and that nearly 40 percent of 250 potential emissions reductions opportunities would more than pay for themselves and create net savings for the economy. The analysis was conducted by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company and published jointly with the Conference Board, a business research organization.
McKinsey’s landmark study looked at opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the main carbon-emitting sectors of the U.S. economy in unprecedented detail. The independent analysis drew on actual industrial experience, assumed that consumer behavior and preferences would remain in line with current trends, and did not assume major technological breakthroughs.
 Key implications of the study’s findings include:
  • Emissions reductions totaling 3.0 to 4.5 gigatons are achievable by 2030 at manageable cost using existing and  presently emerging technologies;
  • Achieving identified emissions reductions will require an economy-wide strategy  and clear policy framework ;
  • Delaying implementation of a comprehensive national strategy will lead to higher costs because energy efficiency opportunities become more expensive over time; and,
  • Capital expenditures necessary to realize emissions reductions opportunities between now and 2030 will  represent an increase of about 1.5 percent  in the $77 trillion in real investment the U.S. economy is expected to make over the same period.
Along with Environmental Defense, other sponsors of the study include DTE Energy, Honeywell, National Grid, Natural Resources Defense Council, PG&E and Shell.
Full text of the study will be available after 12 noon online at
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 400,000 members.  Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.