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As we greet spring, we are reminded that Earth Day is just around the corner. On April 22nd and 23rd, President Biden will host a meeting of world leaders at the Summit of Heads of State or Government. The US will shortly announce a 2030 emissions target under the Paris Agreement. Preparations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this November will begin.
ACC members welcome the USA’s renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement. Climate change is a global challenge that requires long-term commitment and action from all walks of life. In the chemical industry, we advocate measurable emission reductions in the manufacture and sale of our products. Responsible Care® is the basis for our commitment to sustainability. Through this initiative, ACC members have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions intensity by more than 24 percent since 1992.
We know there is more to be done. We are researching exciting new technologies and processes to significantly reduce our emissions in the future. Examples of this are carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS); lower-emission hydrogen, steam and electricity; the use of biomaterials and circular raw materials; and cracker electrification. Many of our members are heavily involved in these projects.
At the same time, we offer solutions that help society save energy and reduce emissions. Chemical products and technologies are used for applications such as wind and solar energy, electric and high-efficiency vehicles, and energy-efficient building materials. For example:
- in the Automotive designPlastics have contributed to a wide variety of innovations in terms of safety, performance, and fuel efficiency. Today’s plastics make up 50% of the volume of new cars, but only 10% of the weight, which helps make cars lighter and more economical.
- High-performance building insulation, sealants and coatings help save energy in our homes, offices and factories. Building insulation can save up to 40 times more energy, while plastic house packaging technology can reduce the infiltration of outside air in residential houses by 10-50%, which drastically reduces the energy required for heating or cooling the house.
- Polymers and composites By using it in glass and carbon-reinforced fibers for wind turbines, 123 units of greenhouse gases are saved for each unit emitted in their manufacture.
- Extended use of LED lighting could reduce global energy demand by 30%.
The latest congressional hearings examined approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity, industry, manufacturing and transport sectors. As policy makers develop strategies to tackle climate change, ACC members have adopted a set of climate policy principles that outline our views.
American chemistry plays an important role in the climate debate. We look forward to working with leaders and policymakers from both parties to explore smart and effective ways to reduce emissions while maintaining a dynamic US chemical sector.