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December 6, 2007

Pollution

Pushing Efficiency

Business groups say large CO2 cuts are manageable

Jeff Johnson

From one-third to one-half of projected U.S. greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated with relatively small cost to the economy through prompt national action and heavy reliance on efficiency, says a report by two business research and consulting organizations.

The Conference Board and McKinsey & Co. estimate that 40% of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions of 9.7 billion tons???the projected U.S. emissions level for 2030???could be eliminated through new industrial, building, and appliance efficiencies. The cost of these reductions, the groups say, would pay for themselves during the lifetime of use.

To move beyond a 40% reduction would call for better vehicle and transportation efficiencies, enhanced carbon sinks, and reduced carbon emissions from electric power generation.

Considering all costs, the report says, overall capital expenditures would exceed $1.1 trillion, but the report says this amount is roughly only 1.5% of the $77 trillion in real investments the U.S. economy is expected to make over this period. The report notes, however, that opportunities to cut greenhouse gases are widely spread throughout the economy and are highly fragmented.

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ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society

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