While major chemical companies are innovating in low-carbon products, they are not meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a report published by the CDP.
The report shows that, while the chemicals sector is performing well on reducing emissions and improving the energy efficiency of its products, innovations and changes to its polluting processes will be required in order for the sector to align itself with the goal of keeping the global temperature rise to below 2°C above preindustrial levels.
5 October 2017: The CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) has published a report titled, ‘Catalyst for Change,’ which shows that, while major chemical companies are making progress on climate risk, rapid process innovations will be required for them to align themselves with the goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C above preindustrial levels reflected in the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The report indicates that, while the chemicals sector is making progress on low-carbon innovations and performing well on reducing emissions and improving the energy efficiency of its products, innovations and changes to its polluting processes will be needed for the sector to meet the Paris Agreement global temperature goal. The report highlights challenges for the chemicals sector, including uneven regulatory risks and pollution linked to plastic packaging.
While the chemicals sector is profiting from the low-carbon transition, it is contributing to the problem as it “struggles to move away from highly polluting upstream processes,” the report finds.
The publication analyzes 22 of the world’s largest chemical companies, which, combined, are worth US$650 billion and responsible for a quarter of the sector’s emissions. It explains that the chemicals sector as a whole is responsible for an eighth of global industrial carbon emissions, as 95% of manufactured products rely on chemicals. While the sector is producing innovative products, such as batteries for electric cars, and profiting from the low-carbon transition, it is contributing to the problem as it “struggles to move away from highly polluting upstream processes.”
The report’s findings include: efficiency improvements are likely to continue at a slower pace in the short term; high-carbon risks remain for the sector in the medium to long term; the sector has the potential to generate revenues from products and processes for customers transitioning to a low-carbon economy; the sector lacks transparency regarding reporting on disaggregated data; and uneven regulation exists with, for example, European chemical companies facing more stringent regulations. [CDP News Article] [Catalyst for Change]