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A New Report Documents the Carbon Footprint of Plastics

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The report recommends ending the production of single-use plastic.

Many recent studies have documented plastic’s pitfalls, from finding microplastics in the remote and pristine Pyrenees mountains to harming wildlife. But a new report published on Wednesday looks at a more insidious effect of America’s plastic problem: carbon emissions.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of the global plastic industry, gathering research on the greenhouse gas emissions of plastic at every stage of the “plastic lifecycle.” For example, just the production and incineration of plastics will add 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in 2019, which the authors calculate is equivalent to the emissions from 189 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.

The researchers estimate that, by 2030, emissions from the plastic industry will reach 1.34 gigatons per year (equivalent to more than 295 500-megawatt coal power plants), and, by 2050, emissions from plastic production will be 14 percent of the global remaining carbon budget, in order to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report concludes with recommendations for governments: The authors encourage ending the production and use of single-use plastic and fostering zero waste, ending construction of new petrochemical infrastructure, and enforcing new targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production.



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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !