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The Cost to Reach Net Zero By 2050 Is Actually a Bargain

A multi-trillion-dollar global investment seems massive. But the closer you look, the smaller the numbers become. 

A worker places a solar panel on the roof of a home in Victoria, British Columbia. 

A worker places a solar panel on the roof of a home in Victoria, British Columbia. 

Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

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A trillion here, a trillion there: The headline figure in the latest analysis of the costs of achieving net-zero emissions, from McKinsey & Co., is a staggering $9.2 trillion a year, every year, between now and 2050. That comes to a grand total of $275 trillion worth of investments in energy assets and land-use systems ranging from agriculture to forestry.