A new report shows that adopting more efficient, low-carbon technology could create 29 million new jobs and double the turnover rate of the chemicals industry, one of the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide.
However, failure to do so could condemn the world to climate chaos, as spiraling emissions from chemical manufacturing could raise global temperature by as much as 4°C above pre-industrial levels, potentially leading to disaster.
Chemical manufacturing accounts for about 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions — roughly equal to the production of Russia, the world’s fourth-largest emitting country — and the products are used in countless other industries, from agriculture to automobiles to consumer goods.
It would be impossible for the world to stay within 1.5°C of warming, which scientists say is vital Which countries agreed to target Last year at the United Nations Cop26 climate summit, without sharp reductions in emissions from the chemical industry.
By adopting technologies already available, such as plastic recycling and Use of fertilizers in a more targeted wayinvesting in emerging technologies such as hydrogenindustry can rapidly reduce its emissions. By 2050, it could be a net absorber of CO2 rather than an emitter, according to Report published on Tuesday By Systemiq, a company that advises on sustainability, and the Global Commons Center at the University of Tokyo.
Paul Pullman, Former CEO of Unilever The founder of Systemiq Capital, a venture capital firm linked to Systemiq, said the chemicals industry is under increased scrutiny as companies around the world strive to reduce carbon emissions. Chemical companies are usually invisible to the public, but the companies that supply them, which manufacture consumer goods, are under pressure from consumers.
“They haven’t faced much pressure from consumers, but chemicals are key to all industries,” Polman said. They have been known to push in a different direction. But it can change, and that is possible, and the transformation can be rapid.”
He told the Guardian: “This [report] It’s the first time we’ve shown this industry that it’s really possible to change. The mentality of the industry must change, to show that there is huge potential. The financial markets are also very keen to finance this transformation.”
The investment required will reach about $100 billion annually by 2050, which is small compared to the current size of the industry, and will double its annual revenue from about $4.7 trillion annually at present, according to the report. The report predicted that this shift would also create about 11 million new jobs in the chemicals industry and another 18 million in related industries.
“We need realistic and immediate action from the industry on internationally agreed climate targets,” said Chad Holiday, former CEO of chemical giant DuPont. “We want to see ambitious companies seize the opportunities represented by the net global shift. The positive chemicals industry on the planet Earth is possible and this is a pivotal moment for the industry to redefine its future.”
Chemical companies have resisted pressure from governments to reduce their carbon emissions, for example lobbying against their inclusion in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme for years. but the new report She found that chemical companies can harness emerging technologies such as hydrogen and ammonia to open up new markets.
Many other technologies needed to reduce emissions from chemical production already exist. Energy efficiency is now in the spotlight, as gas prices have soared, prompting more companies to scrutinize their operations. Recycling products, such as plastic, can greatly reduce energy and materials needed, and are less carbon intensive than making plastic from scratch.
Carbon capture and storage It will also be needed, a technology that is currently not used commercially, but could play a relatively minor role.