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The 3% Solution: Carbon Emissions (GHG) Reductions Worth $780 Billion (Net) in Potential Savings for US

Apparently, there is considerable profit to be had by staying below the 2oC global warming threshold.   The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted, in a series of reports, that increasing global temperatures beyond 2 degrees C above pre-industrial averages would result in irreversible and catastrophic effects. Separately, the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have determined that avoiding the 2 degrees C threshold would require reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately three percent (3%) per year across the US corporate sector.  Most who hear this estimate focus on the enormity of the task, and many believe the dramatic changes it would require would be devastating to the economy. However, according to the latest research from the CDP and WWF, hitting the 3% GHG emissions reduction mark actually presents a significant financial opportunity.

In a report entitled The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reduction, the CDP and WWF identified opportunities for the corporate sector to capture billions of dollars in savings, while simultaneously mitigating the global threats of climate change. Based on their estimates, the 3% solution would create $190 billion (net present value) in savings in the year 2020 alone. Although the opportunities vary per sector, the total net savings realized between 2010 and 2012 could be as much as $780 billion.

The 3% solution would require a total investment of an estimated $480 billion, but it would unlock an estimated $1.26 trillion in savings through three categories of activities:

  1. Improving energy efficiency through behavior and management changes;
  2. Improving energy efficiency through improvements in technology; and
  3. Increasing the use of low-carbon energy, particularly rooftop solar.

Now, that sounds like a pretty good deal!

Download the full report to read more.

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