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Being Climate-Smart and Energy-Smart Go Hand in Hand

I was just at the World Petrochemical Conference in Houston last week, where I had the privilege of participating on a CEO panel session on the chemical industry’s response to climate policy and regulation.  I also got the chance to connect with many of our member company CEOs, who are focused on both short- and long-term approaches to helping reduce our industry’s carbon footprint, while providing solutions that help others do the same.

There was acknowledgement among many of the leaders at WPC that being climate-smart and energy-smart go hand in hand. Chemical manufacturing is an energy-intensive industry. For example, natural gas is used for fuel, heat and power at many facilities, and it’s a source of feedstock. We’re advocating for policies that develop and use a range of energy sources, including continued access to natural gas, while promoting energy efficiency and advancing new technologies.

We know that we and others need to invest in a variety of innovative technology solutions, from CCUS to clean hydrogen, circular feedstocks and nuclear, among others. Exploring, developing and deploying solutions to achieve a lower-emissions future will take time. That’s why it’s so important that ACC and our members are stepping up now to consider potential solutions and work with Congress and the Biden administration to accelerate RD&D.

ACC has had Board-approved climate policy principles for over a decade. Recognizing the need to build on these efforts, last year, ACC worked with our members to develop and issue a set of detailed policy recommendations for Congress, built around three imperatives:

  1. Increase government investment and scientific resources to develop and deploy low emissions technologies in the manufacturing sector.
    Multiple new technologies and game-changing breakthroughs will be needed for lower emission manufacturing. Congress can help enable a lower-emissions future for American manufacturers by facilitating public-private partnerships to overcome barriers to low-emission technologies, establishing a technology-neutral incentive for production of low-carbon hydrogen, and expanding federal research and development for potential breakthrough technologies, like electric steam crackers and direct air capture.
  2. Adopt transparent, predictable, technology- and revenue-neutral, market-based, economy-wide carbon price policies.
    Federal carbon price policies can enable a single, transparent, effective national program that gradually eliminates the need for a patchwork of state laws and federal regulations. This is a clear, consistent, effective way to reduce emissions.
  3. Encourage adoption of emissions-avoiding solutions and technologies throughout the economy to achieve significant savings.
    Making progress on climate goals will depend on the chemical industry and the thousands of energy-efficient and emissions-saving materials and technologies our products enable. We’re calling on Congress to increase funding to encourage improvements in building energy efficiency and deployment of next-generation automobiles and infrastructure, as well as to enact measures to speed transition to newer, more efficient appliances.

The chemistry industry can be proud of our role in imagining, developing and manufacturing the products that will help build a more sustainable tomorrow. 

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About the Author

As President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Chris is responsible for driving a pro-growth, science-based public policy agenda that fosters the development of groundbreaking products to improve lives; creates jobs and economic expansion; and enhances public and environmental health and safety.

In 2021, Chris partnered with Harris County officials in Houston to expand an extensive state-of-the-art air monitoring system to continuously track and evaluate air quality. The partnership included a $1 million donation from ACC’s foundation for mobile and stationary monitors.

Under Chris’ leadership, in 2020, ACC launched the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) in partnership with Chemours, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and HBCU Week Foundation. The program provides scholarships for students pursuing preferred STEM degrees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In the first two years, FOSSI raised more than $17 million for over 350 scholars.

Also in 2020, Chris oversaw a strategic review of Responsible Care®, the chemical industry’s environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) performance initiative, resulting in enhancements to the Responsible Care Process Safety Code and Responsible Care Security Code.

Chris joined ACC in 2019 after serving six years as President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), where he advocated for policies and regulations focused on enhancing security, free trade, environmental protection, worker health and safety, and farm bill and conservation programs to promote the use of fertilizer.

Prior to joining TFI in 2013, Chris served as president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors for seven years and president of the Contract Services Association for three years. He began his career on Capitol Hill, including time as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY).

Chris earned an MBA from the University of Maryland and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in New York.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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