For U.S. corporations to get on track with keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, they'll need to slash carbon emissions by more than one gigaton in less than 10 years.
Instead of looking at that, which translates into a 3-percent annual reduction, as a daunting task, the CDP and WWF want companies to recognize it is a major chance to make big emissions reductions, profitably.
Profit through change
For the report, McKinsey modeled thousands of actions that corporations could take, Swartz said. All together, those actions could create $780 billion in net present value and $190 billion in savings in 2020.
Those savings come from four areas: upgraded technology, combined heat and power, behavioral change and solar PV.
Although upgraded technology -- which includes only known, proven technology -- provides the biggest impact itself, the grand majority of actions involve energy efficiency and behavioral change, Swartz said.
The report aims to show how U.S. companies can contribute to the worldwide target by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to keep global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
What U.S. companies need to do, Swartz said, is reduce emissions so that they're 25 percent lower than emissions from 1990. Emissions from U.S. companies were 4 gigatons that year, putting the goal at 3 gigatons for 2020. In 2010, emissions for U.S. companies were at 4.1 gigatons. That all means companies need to aim for reducing emissions 3 percent annually, hence the title of the report.
Next page: Setting goals and getting to work