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Greenhouse gas abatement cost curves

McKinsey is continuously researching the topic of greenhouse gas abatement. Read the full reports of our findings.

To provide a fact base on emissions-reduction opportunities and their associated cost and investment needs, McKinsey is continuously researching the topic of abatement or mitigation. We published our first global greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement curve in February 2007 and created a comprehensive update with version 2 in January 2009. In August 2010 we released our findings of the impact of the financial crisis on carbon economics, called version 2.1.

In parallel, we have conducted national GHG abatement studies in some of the largest countries around the world: United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, and many more. In each case, we collaborated with leading companies, academics, industry associations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to create the best-informed view on abatement measures and their local applicability. The full reports for each can be found here.

Cost curves


Impact of the financial crisis on carbon economics: Version 2.1 of the global greenhouse gas abatement cost curve

– We have updated our global greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement curve to reflect the impact of the financial crisis on emissions and abatement economics. The business-as-usual emission projection for 2030 has dropped by only 6 percent relative to the pre-crisis estimate. The total abatement potential remains essentially the same while emission reductions might become cheaper in relative terms as a result of higher fossil fuel price expectations.

Pathways to a low-carbon economy: Version 2 of the global greenhouse gas abatement cost curve

– It is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to contain global warming to two degrees Celsius, but only if all major regions and sectors take ambitious action within the next few years. This 2010 report builds on our first global study published in January 2007 and subsequent national studies. It includes an updated assessment of the development of low-carbon technologies, of macro-economic trends and a more detailed understanding of abatement potential in different regions and industries.

Greenhouse gas abatement potential in Greece

– Climate change is a reality and countries globally are adopting greenhouse gas reduction targets. For Greece the question of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a low cost is now more relevant than ever.

Greenhouse gas abatement potential in Poland

– All countries are looking into how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Poland has significant potential to reduce its emissions, but seizing this potential will be a challenge. Fast and decisive action will be needed to realize this opportunity.

Pathways to an energy- and carbon-efficient Russia

– With energy-efficiency measures, Russia can grow GDP up to 6 percent per annum with no increase in energy consumption or carbon emissions. The report shows that by 2030 Russia could cut its energy usage by 23 percent and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 19 percent by implementing 60 economically attractive efficiency measures. At the same time, Russia could achieve its GDP growth aspirations while remaining at its current levels of energy consumption and emissions.

Greenhouse gas abatement potential in Israel

– Israel's overall GHG emission abatement potential is limited in comparison to that of other countries. This study identifies technical and behavioral abatement measures that could reduce Israel's expected doubling of GHG emissions by 2030 by almost three-quarters. The total net cost to the economy of implementing all technical measures would be approximately zero in 2030, but it requires action by all constituencies.

Environmental and energy sustainability: An approach for India

– The report summarizes the results of a study identifying and prioritizing opportunities for India to meet the closely linked challenges of energy security and environmental sustainability that come with growth.

Pathways to world-class energy efficiency in Belgium

– The report, prepared in collaboration with the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB-VBO) and built on McKinsey's global and national GHG-abatement cost curves, identifies theoretical energy savings potential in Belgium representing 29 percent of the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario or 105 million boe.

Pathways to a low-carbon economy for Brazil

– Brazil has the potential to play a leading role in addressing climate change.

China's green revolution: Prioritizing technologies to achieve energy and environmental sustainability

– Technologies commercially available today could help China to reduce its projected oil imports by up to 30 to 40 percent, cut demand for coal by 40 percent, and reduce greenhouse gases by up to 50 percent in 2030.

Swiss greenhouse gas abatement cost curve

– Switzerland can reduce its own inland greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 percent by the year 2030 with technical improvements in buildings, transportation, power generation, industry, and agriculture.

Costs and potentials for greenhouse gas abatement in the Czech Republic

– The abatement potential and costs of emission reduction in the Czech Republic will depend on the ability to capture energy-efficiency opportunities, the choice of power mix, and the future feasibility of carbon capture and storage.

Greenhouse gas abatement opportunities in Sweden

– Sweden already has among the lowest emissions per capita in the Western world. Over the long term, though, it still has significant options for further emission reduction.

An Australian cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction

– This report provides a fact-based analysis on emission-reduction potential and the associated cost for the Australian economy. Its findings are that significant greenhouse gas reduction is achievable and affordable but requires urgent action to implement the full potential.

Reducing US greenhouse gas emissions: How much at what cost?

– Starting in early 2007, a research team from McKinsey worked with leading companies, industry experts, academics, and environmental NGOs to develop a detailed, consistent fact base estimating costs and potentials of different options to reduce or prevent GHG emissions within the United States through 2030. The team analyzed more than 250 options, encompassing efficiency gains, shifts to lower-carbon energy sources, and expanded carbon sinks.

Climate change: Everyone's business—options for greenhouse gas reduction in the UK

– McKinsey was commissioned by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to produce an analysis of the options for greenhouse gas reduction in the United Kingdom. We have worked with industry experts, academics, and leading businesses, and this CBI Climate Change Task Force report shows that the United Kingdom's carbon reduction targets for 2020 are likely to be missed but that 2050 goals, while stretching, can be achieved at a manageable cost—provided a greater sense of urgency is now adopted by government, business, and consumers.

Costs and potentials of greenhouse gas abatement in Germany

– Together with the German Industry Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie—BDI), McKinsey's German office developed a view on costs and potentials of greenhouse gas abatement in Germany until 2020/2030. More than 70 companies and associations were involved in assessing the different abatement levers. In sum, abatement of 30 percent (compared to 1990) seems feasible.