Chemical Industry Has Key Role in Greenhouse Gas Reduction
July 13, 2009
ARLINGTON, VA – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has announced the findings of a new study revealing that for every unit of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by the chemical industry, society saves more than two units of GHGs through use of chemistry products and technologies. By 2030, the GHG savings-to-emissions ratio could increase to more than 4:1, provided further emissions reduction steps by industry, policymakers and other stakeholders.
McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, conducted independent analyses and overall project management for the study. The Öko Institut, an independent environmental research and consulting institution in Europe, conducted a critical review of the analysis and reviewed the calculations.
The International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), including ACC, initiated the study to help drive further reductions in the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions – via improved production processes – while encouraging the use of those chemical products that save energy and create a net emission reduction along the chemical value chain. The chemical industry is the first global industry to embark on such an initiative.
The study used a life cycle carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions analysis to assess the global chemical industry’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions through the life cycle of chemical products and the applications they enable. Analyses were performed for over 100 individual chemical product applications. Emission savings were compared with all direct and indirect emissions linked to the chemical industry. Analyses spanned the major relevant products and sectors of the chemical industry and covered a representative portion of the emissions linked to the chemical industry. Finally, 2030 modeling scenarios were used to extrapolate how emissions for production and use phases may develop.
The McKinsey study found that the most significant emissions savings by volume come from building insulation materials, agrochemicals, lighting, plastic packaging, marine antifouling coatings, synthetic textiles, automotive plastics, low-temperature detergents, engine efficiency and plastics used in piping.
“Americans want a cleaner, greener future, and this analysis shows that chemistry already has a major role in helping the nation and the world reduce GHG emissions,” said ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley. “Equally important, many of today’s and tomorrow’s energy-saving products and green jobs depend on chemistry. This new research confirms that the business of chemistry provides climate solutions.”
“The chemical industry has exciting potential to enable GHG emission savings in decades to come, but reaching it will require steps by industry, consumers and policymakers,” Dooley continued. “For our part, U.S. chemical industry emissions have fallen 16 percent since 1990, and we’ll use this study to guide further operational improvement. Meanwhile, governmental policies that enable greater use of emission-reducing chemistry products and technologies will be key.”
The full report is available at www.icca-chem.org.