The Cost to Achieve Net-Zero

What are the factors that must be considered in the global transition to a net-zero carbon emission economy and who should pay for it?

Gernot Wagner, Bruce Usher  | Spring 2022
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Climate change brought on by human activities lead to acute and chronic hazards that threaten the planet; to reduce the chances of the most dangerous and irreversible damage, the global community must reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide. While more than 70 countries (~80% of global CO2 emissions and ~90% of global GDP) and over 5,000 influential companies have adopted net-zero commitments, coordination of an effort to this scale, given the complex economic, societal, governance and infrastructure considerations, is no easy feat. In this case, students will learn about the transformation of energy and land-use systems required for net-zero emissions, the requisite capital investment, as well as the potential path of the transition to net-zero for different sectors, geographies and communities. Students are also tasked with evaluating the stakeholders undertaking this economic transformation to determine who should finance the investments needed.

Case ID: 220310
Supplemental Materials: Excel Spreadsheets , McKinsey - Student Spreadsheet

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