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Moving Towards Net Zero with MACC Modelling

‘Net Zero’, carbon neutrality and carbon reduction strategies are increasingly at the forefront of global intent, as governments, corporates, investors, consumers, and a range of other stakeholders demand that countries, organisations and businesses do the right thing for the future of the planet. In 2021 there are already consequences for organisations that take missteps, and the impact can be swift and debilitating. There is a new lexicon about climate action and saving the planet. It is indeed a foolhardy organisation that believes the world hasn’t changed. As we seek to balance our emissions for the good of the planet, we need to accelerate action to drive commitment and change.

The time is now. Going “green” is not only a trend it is an imperative. Playing catch-up in a year or two is no longer an option, neither from a business sustainability point of view nor from a capital and revenue perspective. There are lots of big claims out there, pacts and pledges and some science-based target Initiatives, but the fact is mandated carbon reduction targets are mutable with a lengthy time frame. How can you step up now? Simple tools such as a MAC curve can guide your strategy and demystify your commitment. Let us help you.

The Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC) curve is a tool that can be used to visualise the opportunities at hand, their impact to emissions and cost to abate. A MAC curve can be used to determine what projects are essentially ‘no brainers’, what projects fall below the line of a price on carbon (for example using the price of LGCs or ACCUs) and what projects may be kept in the medium to long-term pipeline. An example of a MAC curve is shown below. Each opportunity is represented, with the x-axis representing the magnitude of the tonnes of CO2e avoided and the y-axis representing the cost per tonne of CO2e avoided.

Figure 1: Example of a marginal abatement cost curve for modelling net zero*.

The MAC curve is an action-based tool. It not only enables a sensitivity analysis that can inform you on the best time to invest in medium and long-term projects, but it can also identify high impact economic opportunities to implement in the short term. As an example, projects that will reduce grid electricity consumption in Victoria, will be rewarded while the Scope 2 emissions are high. As grid emissions decrease, so will the emissions associated with using electricity and subsequently the quantity of energy efficiency saving certificates that may be generate for an energy saving activity.

The MAC curve can be a catalyst for change in that it provides the opportunity to communicate the cost of abatement to all levels of an organisation. It can also be a tool to engage with your employees, to understand the commitment and targets your organisation has set. Employees want to work for organisations that care and are committed to real action to reduce the business’ impact on climate change.

Where to from here? Let us help you baseline your business, identify opportunities and develop a MAC curve to set you on a pathway that targets Net Zero.


* Using Marginal Abatement Cost curves, CitySwitch, 16/09/2021, Using Marginal Abatement Cost curves (


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