26 percent less CO2 by 2020?

BDI and McKinsey with comprehensive greenhouse gas emission reduction catalog

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Reducing GHG emissions by 26 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 is economically feasible - without sacrificing economic growth and quality of life, and maintaining nuclear power output. This is the most important finding of a new study presented yesterday in Berlin by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the management consultants McKinsey and Company.


With the report "Costs and Potentials of Avoiding Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Germany", Germany is the first country in the world to have a comprehensive business analysis of all key climate protection technologies, including cost information from the point of view of decision-makers in euros per tonne of greenhouse gas saved. "With the study we provide an essential contribution to the assessment of the climate and energy policy plans of the Federal Government. We see the study as an offer for cooperation with the Federal Government, "said BDI President Jürgen Thumann.

For the first time, the decision-makers, ie investors, homeowners, car buyers and many other decision-makers, determined the costs and potential of more than 300 individual technological levers to avoid greenhouse gas emissions. In sum, the study estimates that in the four sectors of buildings, industry, energy and transport, greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020 are economically achievable by 2020 - without sacrificing economic growth and quality of life and maintaining nuclear power output, with average abatement costs of up to to 20 euros per ton of CO2 equivalent.

Nuclear energy important?

According to the report, there are other avoidance levers. For their realization, however, much higher investment would be required. Even a reduction of 31 percent, while maintaining the nuclear energy exit, would lead to significantly higher average abatement costs between 32 and 175 euros per ton of CO2 equivalent. These result from the additional increase in the share of renewable energies in the energy mix, which has already been decided politically. display

Most of the assessed potential savings can be realized with already known and proven technology, about two thirds of the measures even pay off - if only under certain political conditions. A reduction of greenhouse gases beyond 31 percent can not be achieved economically without maintaining nuclear energy.

The survey involved more than 70 companies and industry associations, with which a broad-based fact base was assembled. A scientific advisory board to Professor Martin Hellwig, Professor Wolfgang Ströbele and Professor Carl Christian von Weizsäcker, accompanied the work of McKinsey. "The results of the study make clear that the German economy with its technological potential is the problem solver. Ultimately, only companies can develop and provide products, processes and technologies for efficient climate protection, emphasized Thumann. "Now it depends on the right political framework, so that we can use the technologies as efficiently as possible."

Subjects of instruments needed

Thumann recommended to the government a range of instruments, such as market incentive programs, that needed to be balanced and applied. Last but not least, this includes all measures to spread the best technologies on the world markets. First, by ensuring the export of relevant technologies, we will find the appropriate global response to the global problem of climate change, as well as strengthening our domestic economy and employment. In the future, future regulations should be designed in such a way that entrepreneurs and consumers can make the best possible investment and purchasing decisions on their own responsibility, says Thumann.

Praise and criticism

Mixed reactions have triggered the McKinsey study among environmental organizations and politicians. "Finally, the executive floors of German industry have understood that they are playing the main role in combating climate change, " commented Greenpeace energy expert Jörg Feddern. But he also curtailed: "Successful climate protection needs a quick and decisive commitment. The reduction targets set by scientists are not an option but a must if we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change. And their economic costs could add up to 800 billion euros for Germany alone. That's why we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 - without any ifs and buts. But exactly this necessary way the study does not show

Federal Environment Ministry welcomes BDI study

From the point of view of the Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), not all of the conclusions drawn in the study are to be agreed this applies above all to the proposal to extend the residual terms of nuclear power plants for reasons of climate protection. However, according to the BMU, the study offers a number of interesting ideas and considerations that create the basis for closer cooperation between politics and business.

The state secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Matthias Machnig, said: "Above all, I welcome the differentiated methodological approach, which also corresponds to the scientific investigations that the Federal Ministry for the Environment bases on the formulation of German climate protection policy. The study shows once again that climate protection is not only affordable, but can even lead to massive savings in many areas. Climate protection offers great opportunities for the German economy. The BDI study proves that climate protection is not only ecologically indispensable, but serves the industrial location of Germany and the German technology leadership. The study provides a basis for intensive and fruitful discussions between the Federal Government and the German economy.

(BDI / BMU / Greenpeace, 26.09.2007 - DLO)