CLINTEL challenges McKinsey’s climate alarmism

Reposted from

By David Wojick |November 3rd, 2020|Climate

McKinsey and Company is the world’s biggest management consulting firm, with annual revenue topping ten billion dollars. Lately they have launched a climate scare campaign, no doubt hoping to make a fortune from it, but CLINTEL has called them out.

CLINTEL has sent a succinct letter of challenge to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) which generates much of the scary stuff. MGI is a McKinsey subsidiary and brags that it is one of the world’s biggest think tanks.

This issue is important because while most businesses could care less what the UN IPCC says about climate change, they will listen to McKinsey. The specific target of CLINTEL’s letter is a voluminous report released in September, titled simply “McKinsey on Climate Change“. Thus this is the official voice of McKinsey. This so-called report is really just a 216 page collection of scary stories.

The report begins with this dire warming: “The changing climate is poised to create a wide array of economic, business, and social risks over the next three decades. Leaders should start integrating climate risk into their decision making now.”

And who better to help them integrate these supposed near term risks than McKinsey, for fat fees of course? Interesting that the climate is only poised to create these risks, not yet creating them it seems, but I digress.

McKinsey is quite clear that folks need help, saying “Stakeholders can address the risk posed by climate change only if they understand it clearly and see the nuances that make it so complicated to confront.”

Here are some sample McKinsey scare stories:

Will infrastructure bend or break under climate stress?

Could climate become the weak link in your supply chain?

Banking imperatives for managing climate risk.

The zero-carbon car: Abating material emissions is next on the agenda.

Will the worlds breadbaskets become less reliable?

CLINTEL goes to the heart of all this darkness, namely that it is based on bogus modeling. To begin with, it is based on the ridiculous IPCC future emissions scenario called 8.5 for short. Here is how CLINTEL puts it:

As you state, [you] rely on the RCP8.5 scenario of the IPCC AR5 CMIP5 models, inappropriate in our view, as that scenario was developed in AR5 to model a world growing as the then rate of China. That scenario is most implausible, RCP4.5, if any, now being significantly more relevant. Furthermore, in using the Woods Hole Research Centre (WHRC) models, you project reaching a global temperature of 2.3°C above pre-industrial by 2050, with a possible 1.8m sea-level rise by 2100, both inexplicably well beyond the SR8.5 extreme case figures. Under these WHRC models, it is no surprise that your projections for future climate impacts may better belong, we suggest, in the field of science fiction. Your extreme point of view may seriously hurt the reputation.”

So not only does McKinsey use the silly scenario 8.5, they actually go way beyond it! Of course when you are drumming up billions in new business you want a really big drum.

The letter is signed by Professor Guus Berkhout, CLINTEL President. It ends with this concern and challenge:

We therefore see no climate emergency whatsoever. In addition, we are very concerned of a gigantic misallocation of global economic resources, as your publications seem to suggest, to an exaggerated climate threat. Why does an ethical company such as McKinsey, we wonder, take such an extreme position?

You and your scientific advisors would be very welcome to hold a debate with our world-class scientists. We look forward to your response.”

Professor Berkhout’s message to potential McKinsey customers is: “Be aware that if you adapt your business strategy to the most unlikely climate scenario RCP 8.5, it is most likely you use the wrong strategy”.

McKinsey and Company has been associated with a number of notable scandals including the collapse of Enron in 2001 and the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Given that McKinsey stands to make huge amounts of money pushing these unfounded scary stories, one wonders if fraud is an issue.


David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see Available for confidential research and consulting.

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Richard (the cynical one)
November 4, 2020 6:14 am

Business ethics are so 16th century! If McKinsey sees an opportunity to make some quick bucks who are we to object? Why should truth or honour get in the way?

Javert Chip
Reply to  Richard (the cynical one)
November 4, 2020 7:36 pm


I was just mega-relieved to find out CLINTEL had absolutely nothing to do with, you know, a former president & his wife.

Reply to  Javert Chip
November 4, 2020 10:53 pm

It’s unclear who you think you are talking about but it is totally irrelevant anyway. Are you suggesting that anyone who has some indirect contact with CLINTEL is forbidden by some unwritten rule from publisising their report? How does that work?

What is relevant is the content of this fraud being advanced by McKinsey’s .

Reply to  Greg
November 5, 2020 7:47 am

Greg, put an imaginary /sarc tag at the end of Mr. Chip’s post and it might become clearer to you.

Phil Rae
November 4, 2020 6:38 am

Classic! What a scam and just typical of these predatory outfits.

Create a fictitious problem by using extreme and totally unrealistic “projections” then offer bogus expertise to help others adapt to the unnecessary changes that you will tell them to make!!! What a great way to make money out of not-even-vaguely hot air.

It might even be better at making money than dealing with the financing of gargantuan infrastructure projects, like those needed to build new expensive and inefficient power infrastructure needed for “renewables”!!!

Rodney Everson
Reply to  Phil Rae
November 5, 2020 7:49 am

Hey, it’s working on nearly every electric utility in the U.S. and Europe, so why not expand the scam to all large companies. Compared to them, the utilities are chump changes.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Phil Rae
November 6, 2020 5:43 am

Or, a firm hires a consultant to help them determine the time of day, the consultant borrows their watch, tells them the time, then leaves with the watch. Too many consultants are simply scam artists. That McKinsey is pushing this propaganda illustrates how low they are willing to go.

Mike McHenry
November 4, 2020 6:57 am

In my career I had interactions with McKinsey LOL . Cuomo hired them as consultants on COVID for New York State bizarre

Reply to  Mike McHenry
November 4, 2020 8:26 am

Reorganisation of enterprises by McKinsey are only done with massive job losts, nothing else. That there may be other options to reduce costs is never reflected, it’s easily manageable….

Mike McHenry
Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 4, 2020 12:03 pm

I have also seen very large internationals use them to manage divisions. If an exec wants to strike out in a new area McKinsey comes in and interviews everyone and regurgitates it to upper management

Reply to  Mike McHenry
November 4, 2020 7:02 pm
Ron Long
November 4, 2020 7:15 am

Good report by Dr. David. These kinds of stories are very similar to what’s happening with the unfolding voter scenario in the USA right now, to wit, the polling results were wildly off. The persons citing these wildly off polling results, like those on CNN, appeared to believe their own lies. I am torn between two options for describing those who believe their own lies: crazy or stupid? Wait a minute, how about corrupt, as in who cares what the truth is as long as we make money from our version?

November 4, 2020 7:21 am

I wonder who paid them to write this rubbish. Concerned readers want to know.

Reply to  Oldseadog.
November 4, 2020 7:29 am

I started to read the actual “report”, but having high blood pressure stopped at page 9, fearing for both my health and my sanity.

Mike Rossander
November 4, 2020 7:35 am

re: the last paragraph about MeKinsey’s association with other scandals, this report counts as “puffery”, not fraud.

Morally, those terms might seem like synonyms. Legally, they are very different. Having disclosed their assumptions, McKinsey cannot be convicted of “fraud” no matter how wrong those assumptions turn out to be,

November 4, 2020 7:41 am

Whenever I see RCP8.5 I laugh!

My wife asked me why I was laughing one day when she told me about some work using this as the basis for their future plans and I showed her the basis for this “estimate” – she laughed too!

John F Hultquist
November 4, 2020 8:05 am

Related McKinsey & Co. rip off:
“$165K a week for COVID analysis? That’s how much Washington [State] paid a global consulting firm ”

under Jay Inslee’s watch

_ _ _ _ _
RCP 8.5 !
There is Science Fiction, and then there is Fantasy. RCP 8.5 is fantasy of the worst sort. The ” willing suspension of disbelief” on the part of the reader is critical to staying with a story of speculative fiction.
8.5 is junk, and everyone knows it.

Reply to  John F Hultquist
November 4, 2020 11:05 am

The IPCC is coming out with RCP 10.5 in 2021 Everything will be powered with coal. Trains, planes, ships, trucks, cars and even our computers. Laptops will burn powdered coal. You will have to wear asbestos pants if you want to place your coal powered laptop computer on your lap. Unless you enjoty that sort of thing.

November 4, 2020 8:20 am

Wasn’t it Goebels who advised –
if you want to tell a lie, make it a big one.

Reply to  Mr.
November 4, 2020 1:45 pm

Yes Mr.
And the biggest lie may have been that the Third Reich would last 1000 years. It lasted about 1000 days.
And these lies were to get power and money and to make war,

The climate extremists also want power and money. And some of these climate extremists are speaking of coercion and punishment for those who disagree. What will the future hold if they get the power and money? A “Reset”?

Patrick B
November 4, 2020 9:21 am

Any company engaging McKinsey on such a basis should demand that the climate predictions be included in the contract along with the predicted effects and a money back guaranty if such events do not occur.

Reply to  Patrick B
November 4, 2020 11:10 am

And deposit a substantial performance bond in escrow at the same time.

Nick Graves
November 4, 2020 9:25 am

I am suspicious that these large firms only publish such tripe in order to appear on the right side of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset plans, so they will be permitted to survive/obtain handouts/favours just in case it really happens.

They are probably really about as convinced by such bollocks as are most of us here.

Bruce Cobb
November 4, 2020 9:42 am

McKinsey and McScience; a match made in Heaven (or is it Hell?).

November 4, 2020 9:45 am

But but, I can guarantee you that if you pay billions to McKinsey and do everything they recommend that RCP8.5 will not occur. See? It worked.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 4, 2020 9:50 am

Don’t worry about their reputation. They are experts at shredding and the disappearing of documents. If needed they will do an Enron on it.

mike macray
November 4, 2020 10:45 am

If I am not mistaken McKinsey was the business adviser to Enron whose collapse brought down Arthur Anderson, one of the big five accounting firms, and yet somehow survived intact.?
Surprise, surprise!

Carl Friis-Hansen
November 4, 2020 10:49 am

“…with a possible 1.8m sea-level rise by 2100…”

Isn’t that figure wrong?
According to Mörner Paper 604 Vol. 5, Issue 1( Part 5), January 2015 the current SLR is 0.0 to 0.2 mm/y. So let’s take the high road, 0.2mm, and extrapolate that:
0.2mm/year * 80 = 16mm or 0.016m

sarc-on/ So maybe David Wojick meant 1.8cmSLR by 2100. /sarc-off


Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
November 4, 2020 11:05 am

Sorry, me idiot. The 0.2mm was for Kattegat.
Nevertheless, I remember about 1.5mm/y for global SLR, so let’s be forthcoming and say 3mm/y.
3mm/y * 80 = 240mm = 0.24m by 2100.
Still nearly ten times away from the real world on Earth-One.

November 4, 2020 11:02 am

McKinsey is notorious for stripping people and departments out of companies to increase their worth on paper prior to sale/takeover. Often McKinsey personnel who make the firing recommendations step into the vacated positions with the new parent company. They are euphemistically referred to as “efficiency experts.” Nothing more than slime balls taking advantage of problems to promote themselves.

William Haas
November 4, 2020 11:47 am

The reality is that climate change has been taking place for eons and is currently so small that it takes networks of very sophisticated sensors, decades to even detect it. We must be careful to not mix up weather cycles which are part of the current climate with true climate change. Based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing today is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Look at the chart that Al Gore presented in his first movie showing temperature and CO2 vs time for the past 650,000 years. Al Gore claimed the this data shows that CO2 regulates temperature but if one looks at the data in higher temporal resolution one will find that CO2 level follows temperature and not the other way around. This happens because warmer oceans cannot hold as much CO2 as cooler oceans. Al Gore also included in his plot today’s CO2 level which over the past 650,000 years seems to be abnormally high The proximate cause of this is mankind’s burning of fossil fuels. But according to Al Gore’s chart this great increase in CO2 has not affected global temperatures. So what Al Gore’s chart really shows is that CO2 seems to have no effect on global temperature.

AGW is a conjecture that depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect provided for by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse is not what keeps a real greenhouse warm. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is entirely a convective greenhouse effect that keeps a real greenhouse warm. So too on Earth where instead of glass there is gravity and the heat capacity of the atmosphere. As derived from first principals, the Earth’s convective greenhouse effect keeps the surface of the Earth on average 33 degrees C warmer than it would otherwise be. 33 degrees C is what has been derived from first principals and 33 degrees C is what has been measured. Additional warming caused by a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed on Earth or any where else in the solar system for that matter. The radiant greenhouse effect is nothing but science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is nothing but science fiction as well.

But for those that still believe in a radiant greenhouse effect, initial radiametric calculations came up with a value of the climate sensitivity of CO2 not counting feedback effects of 1.2 degrees C for a doubling of CO2. A research group from England examined temperature and CO2 data from 1850 to today and determined that if all the warming were caused by an increase in CO2 that the the climate sensitivity of CO2 including feedbacks could not possible be more than 1.2 degrees C. A researcher from Japan pointed out that the initial radiametric calculations failed to include the fact that a doubling of CO2 would cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect and decreases the climate sensitivity of CO2 by more than a factor of 20. So we end up with a climate sensitivity of CO2 of less than .06 degrees C which is trivial and too small to measure.

Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. According to the AGW conjecture, CO2 warming causes more H2O to enter the atmosphere which causes even more warming because H2O is, molecule per molecule, a stronger IR absorber than is CO2. This additional warming causes still more H2O to enter the atmosphere which causes even more warming and so forth. But what this H2O feedback fails to include is the fact that besides being the primary so called greenhouse gas, H2O is a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere, by the heat of vaporization, moving heat energy from the earth’s surface to where clouds form and radiate the heat energy to space The overall cooling effect of CO2 is evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly lower than the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. The net cooling effect of H2O hence must act as a negative, stabilizing feedback that reduces and warming that the CO2 might provide. So instead of amplifying CO2 warming by a nominal factor of 3. H2O feedback reduces CO2 warming by a nominal factor of 3, reducing the climate sensitivity of CO2 from .06 to .02 degrees C which is trivial and too small to measure so it is effectively zero. Negative feedback systems are inherently stable as has been the Earth’s climate system for at least the last past 500k years, enough for life to evolve because we are here.

If CO2 really effected climate then the increase in CO2 over the past 30 years should have caused at least a measurable increase in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere but that has not happened. The IPCC does not really know what the climate sensitivity of CO2 rally is and they have been unable to measure it. It is as if the climate sensitivity of CO2 was zero and hence there is nothing to measure. Apparently the IPCC continues to maintain without evidence that CO2 creates a climate problem so as to justify their funding. It is all politics and not science.

Reply to  William Haas
November 4, 2020 4:24 pm

The only greenhouse gas that has a significant effect on climate is water vapor. Global WV trend has been increasing about 1.5% per decade which is faster than possible from temperature increase (feedback). is a comparison of measured WV increase and a calculation of what it would be if from temperature increase alone.

In the last 30 years, more than 7 WV molecules have been added to the atmosphere for each CO2 molecule. The WV increase is nearly all (about 96%) from increasing irrigation. WV increase accounts for all of the temperature increase attributable to humanity (about 0.7 K 1895-2019). Carbon dioxide, in spite of being a ghg, has no significant net effect on climate.

November 4, 2020 12:04 pm

The report begins with this dire warming: “The changing climate is poised to create a wide array of economic, business, and social risks over the next three decades. Leaders should start integrating climate risk into their decision making now.”

Mmm, dire. Weird David Wojick is surprised they’re unwilling to put ideology above conservative prudence, but then that’s the CFACT for you.

Reply to  Loydo
November 4, 2020 12:46 pm

The report begins with a big lie: “after 10,000 years of relative stability-the full span of human civilization-the Earth’s climate is changing”. And, as it wasn’t enough, the report continues with deceptions and errors correctly pointed out by David. But, to address your comment, the report advocates spending trillions on non-problems, based on erroneous assumptions and improbable scenarios; that’s not prudence, that is recklessness and irresponsibility.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Loydo
November 4, 2020 1:11 pm

Is it Backwards Day again? They clearly are putting climate change ideology above conservative prudence, above truth, and above economic reality.

Rud Istvan
November 4, 2020 12:51 pm

Competed against McKinsey for 11 years as a partner, then senior partner (rainmaker) at rival BCG. Only lost once in all that time, because got stuck with a very weak partner who ‘left’ after the loss. Was actually easy to, because the quality of their research was invariably poor—more opinion than fact. I built up a wide range of comparison examples across many industries and would haul out the most relevant one during the sales pitch.

This guest post is a good example. Use impossible RCP 8.5 in a ‘Woods Hole’ model that isn’t even in CMIP5 so not recognized by IPCC.

November 5, 2020 12:29 am

Whenever (quite often unfortunately) I see the McKinsey guys around in the company, I instantly think about American Psycho. They’d probably deserve that same treatment.

November 5, 2020 3:03 am

There are good times ahead for Climate Consultants:

“Climate change consulting helps organizations to develop climate change policies, evaluating risks, identifying opportunities, reducing greenhouse gas emission and others.

Increasing government initiative for climate change consulting services to reduce greenhouse gas emissions driving the market demand.

In addition, rising adoption of climate change consulting services in the transportation & logistics industry as extreme weather conditions may disturb the manufacturing process, supply chain operations, and transportation routes.

The climate change consulting market has high growth prospects owing to increasing demand in the developing economies and technological advancement in climate change consulting services.”

November 5, 2020 6:44 am

McKinsey has been mining this golden vein for decades now for the great money benefit to the partners.

Never let a good, emergent and ongoing policy fail go to waste.

Tom Abbott
November 5, 2020 7:35 am

From the article: “And who better to help them integrate these supposed near term risks than McKinsey, for fat fees of course?”

I think WUWT should start up a for-profit consulting firm composed of commenters to the website, where corporations can come to consult and find out that there are no near term risks from Human-caused Climate Change and those corporations can save themselves a lot of money by knowing the facts and not wasting their money on science fiction like Human-caused Climate Change.

We’ll have to work out whether the commenters get paid or do it for free, I suppose.

Corporations would probably benefit greatly by presenting their future plans, on any subject, to the audience here at WUWT where commenters can analyze and critique their visions of the future. They would probably learn a lot.

McKinsey will put the corporations on the wrong track. WUWT will put them on the right track. All they have to do is ask. We can save them some money. 🙂

November 5, 2020 8:36 am

It’s the Homestake Gold Mine of consulting on stupid ideas for profit, i.e. a very long lasting ore body.

November 6, 2020 7:30 am

Today’s world has such an insatiable appetite for data it is willing willing to consume any and all. Polluted data, spoiled and adulterated data, all ravenously swallowed. USA elections are only the latest example.

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