As we welcome spring, we’re reminded that Earth Day is just around the corner. On April 22 and 23, President Biden will host a gathering of world leaders at the Leaders Summit on Climate. The U.S. will soon announce a 2030 emissions target under the Paris Agreement, and preparations will begin for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.
ACC members welcome the U.S. recommitment to the Paris Agreement. Climate change is a global challenge that requires long-term commitment and action by every segment of society. In the chemical industry, we’re committed to achieving measurable reductions in emissions in the manufacture and distribution of our products. Responsible Care® is the foundation 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 do. We’re exploring exciting new technologies and processes to significantly reduce our emissions going forward. Examples include carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS); lower-emission hydrogen, steam, and electricity; the use of biomaterials and circular feedstocks; and cracker electrification. Many of our members are deeply involved in these projects.
At the same time, we’re providing solutions that help society save energy and reduce emissions. Chemical products and technologies are relied upon for applications such as wind and solar power, electric and high-efficiency vehicles, and energy-efficient building materials. For example:
- In automotive design, plastics have contributed to a multitude of innovations in safety, performance and fuel efficiency. Today’s plastics make up 50% of the volume of new cars, but only 10% of the weight, helping to make cars lighter and more fuel-efficient.
- High-performance building insulation, sealants and wraps help save energy in our homes, offices and factories. Building insulation can save up to 40x the energy used to create it, while plastic house wrap technology can reduce infiltration of outside air into homes by 10-50%, helping to dramatically reduce the energy required for home heating or cooling.
- Polymers and composite materials used in glass and carbon-reinforced fiber for wind turbines save 123 units of GHGs for every unit emitted to make them.
- Expanded use of LED lighting could cut global energy demand by 30%.
Recent Congressional hearings have explored approaches to reduce GHG emissions in the electricity, industrial, manufacturing and transportation sectors. As policymakers develop strategies to fight climate change, ACC members have adopted a set of Climate Policy Principles outlining our views.
American chemistry has an important role in the climate discussion. We look forward to engaging with leaders and policymakers of both parties to explore smart and effective ways to reduce emissions while maintaining a vibrant U.S. chemical sector.