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The cost will not be net zero

How much will the net-zero transition cost? Our analysis of the industry-standard scenario for net zero by 2050 suggests that about $275 trillion in cumulative spending on physical assets, or approximately $9.2 trillion per year, would be needed between 2021 and 2050. That’s $25 trillion more than the current-policies scenario. Every sector and every time frame would see a bigger bill.

The NGFS Net Zero 2050 scenario would entail around $25 trillion more in cumulative investments over 30 years than the Current Policies scenario.

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Two charts side by side, each representing a “Network for Greening the Financial System” scenario for the cost of attaining net zero, covering the annual spending required to purchase physical assets for energy and land-use systems, measured in trillions of dollars per year. The bars represent spending required by the individual system and include segments for hydrogen biofuels and heat, agriculture, industry, forestry, fossil fuels, buildings, power and mobility. By far the largest is the mobility share. The total spend in the first Net Zero 2050 scenario is around $275 trillion, and in the second chart (the “Current Policies” scenario), the total spend is around $250 trillion.

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To read the article, see “The economic transformation: What would change in the net-zero transition,” January 25, 2022.