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Energy Efficiency Could Cut Emissions In Half

Energy Efficiency Could Cut Emissions In Half

It may sound simple, but one way to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is through energy efficiency. Investing in energy efficiency could reduce GHG emissions by 1.1 gigatons a year, according to a report by McKinsey & Company titled, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy.” It could also cause a 23 percent drop in energy use by 2020, and save the U.S. economy $1.2 trillion. A $520 billion investment would be required.

The report recommends strategies to increase energy efficiency, including recognizing it as an important energy resource. The other recommendations are as follows:

  • Formulate and launch at both national and regional levels an integrated portfolio of proven, piloted, and emerging approaches to unlock the full potential of energy efficiency
  • Identify methods to provide the significant upfront funding required by any plan to capture energy efficiency
  • Forge greater alignment between utilities, regulators, government agencies, manufacturers, and energy consumers
  • Foster innovation in the development and deployment of next generation energy efficiency technologies to ensure ongoing productivity gains

Ken Ostrowski, senior partner at McKinsey, said, “Energy efficiency, by its nature, is quite challenging to capture… Part of this is the heavy fragmentation of the opportunity. It comes in lots of small little bites. So the relative significance of any individual energy efficiency measure to a consumer or a business is small.”

A report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), authored by Skip Laitner came to similar conclusions as the McKinsey report. Investing in energy efficiency could lead to one-half of the needed GHG emissions reductions by 2050, according to the report. Investing in energy efficient technologies could result in “substantial net energy bill savings” for both consumers and businesses. The report estimates that the savings could total $2 trillion by 2050 in 2007 constant dollars.

The report pointed out that non-energy expenditures in U.S. “tend to be more labor-intensive” and contribute a greater rate to GDP compared to expenditures on energy. However, investing in energy efficiency will not take away jobs, but provide a “small but net positive gain in the economy.” Shifting away from producing and consuming conventional energy resources to “more productive investments in energy-efficient technologies” can help the economy and create jobs. 

“The evidence shows that productive investments in energy-efficient technologies can enable the U.S. economy to save money and to substantially reduce its greenhouse gas emissions – both immediately and by mid-century,” said Laitner, director of ACEEE’s Economic and Social Analysis Program. 

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15 comments

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6:43PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:42PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:40PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:39PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:39PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

6:38PM PST on Feb 12, 2013

Thank you for article.

10:53PM PDT on Sep 26, 2009

GHG and CO2 emissions are one of the paramount concerns of everyone inhabiting this vulnerable earth. The adverse effects being cause is merely disastrous and could spell the begenning of an end. The need for more and more energy due to the accending population. But saving energy would cut down the emissions.
Lights: if we could switch from our traditional bulbs to enery saving ones, which require less power and lasts 12 times longer.each house by the analysis would be saving 0.33% of energy. (in terms of 3 enery bulbs per house)
Electrical appliances: promising to switch off your televisions, fan and compuetrs when not utilizing, unplung mobile chargers when not in use, boiling water only when needed.All this would be saving consederable amount of energy.
Transport: exercise is not practiced much these days. So if the distance from our homes to the work place is short- we could walk, cycle local bus, travel many in a car or buy eco friendly cars (available theses days) which would not emmit CO2. These would save massive amounts of coals and petrolium and would not be a contributing factor to the climate change.
Plastics: avoid foods with has much pakagings.
Reduce reuse and recycle: if we would all abide by these three "RE's" then it would have never come up to this. reduce the amount of electricity used, reuse plastic bags and try recyling things not in use, altho we know it is a expensive procedure.
So u see each one of us CAN make the difference!

10:07PM PDT on Aug 9, 2009

Actually if we're serious about wanting to significantly & immediately reduce our GHG then we need to focus on bringing down methane emissions. Methane is 72 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat inside the Earth's atmosphere. However, it breaks down far more quickly - in only 8-12 years, compared to up to 200 years for CO2. In practical terms, this means that reducing CO2 emissions will have little effect on global warming for decades, while reducing methane now will have an almost immediate effect.
Livestock production is a major cause of methane emissions through the enteric fermentation of ruminants.
Everyone talks about saving energy or energy efficiency, etc., but it's not enough. We need to include our food choices too because collectively they cause large amounts of GHGs. According to a study by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research in Germany, an animal-free diet produces 87% less greenhouse gas emissions than the average meat diet.
Also, the livestock sector requires 16 times more fossil fuel energy than other sectors of agriculture.
So if we all ate much less meat, then together, we would be able to bring down global GHG emissions very rapidly & efficiently.
To help make a difference there's a growing global movement for Meat Free Mondays, please support it by signing the petitions here: http://www.MeatFreePetition.com

2:55PM PDT on Aug 9, 2009

David, if your idea of inducement is name-calling and beratement, you can take your website and keep it. Better yet, stay on your precious site and stop posting the same comment over and over again on this one.

10:48PM PDT on Aug 7, 2009

....es ist möglich den Ausstoß von CO2 zu vermindern und Obama hat jetzt zugesagt mitzuarbeiten.....,
aber es ist nicht allein CO2 was unsere Atmosphäre belastet, 26X schlimmer ist METHAN-GAS!
durch die intensive Fleischproduktion in der Welt hat dieses Gas in den letzten 30 Jahren verherend zugenommen und durch die Erwärmung der Ozeane, wo Methan auf den Grund gefroren liegt, es sich nur um 1° mehr Wärme vergast und unsere Atmosphäre katastrophal belastet!!!
klaus h, Duisburg, Germany
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanhydrat

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