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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 advancing ACC’s mission to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing.

Chris has been named by The Hill as one of Washington, DC’s “Top Lobbyists” and by the Washingtonian as one of DC’s “Most Influential People” for representing the U.S. business of chemistry and its customers within the halls of Congress.

Prior to joining ACC in 2019, Chris served as President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute, president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors, and president of the Contract Services Association. 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’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.