3E Intelligence

The world needs a tenfold increase of carbon productivity between now and 2050 says a new climate change study by McKinsey’s Global Institute. This is comparable to the historic increase of labour productivity since the beginning of the industrial revolution, only it needs to be done over 40 years instead of 150. That said the interesting report “The Carbon Productivity Challenge” starts from the assumption that keeping below the 500 ppmv CO2 equivalent level is enough to prevent significant risks to our climate (for another view, see www.350.org ). So the challenge is probably even more dramatic.

One of the most fascinating finds of the study is that the world sustainable level of per-capita emissions lies at 2.2 tonnes CO2e per year (or 6 kg of CO2e per day). Currently per-capita emissions in the EU-27 are at 9.6 tonnes (US 21.5 tonnes). This daily “emission budget” (which we need to reach if we want to stick to “safe” levels according to McKinsey) would mean we would have to choose between the following alternatives: doing a 20-40 km car ride, 10-20 hours air conditioning, buying two new T-shirts (not including the drive to the shop) or eating 2 meals a day. Challenging enough for you?

Another report presented this week and written by McKinsey for German industry giant Siemens highlights the leadership role of cities for reducing greenhouse gases. The study “Sustainable Urban Infrastructure” focuses on London and concludes that the city can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 44% in 2025 with existing technology solutions which mostly pay for themselves.

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