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Climate Change and Chemicals: Connections and Consequences

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Climate Change and Chemicals: Connections and Consequences

The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have launched a Community of Practice (CoP) on Chemicals and SDGs to bring representatives from different sectors together and to create a learning network around issues related to addressing Chemicals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a summary of the discussion on Climate Change and Chemicals: Connections and Consequences, which took place on 22 September 2021.

Presenters: Prof. Alistair Boxall (ECORISC CDT), Dr. Philip Landrigan (Boston College), Dr. Arne Kätelhön (Carbon Minds), Dr. Olwenn Martin (Brunel University)

Petrochemicals are the second largest consumers of oil and gas after the transport and energy sectors, respectively, and are set to account for more than a third of the growth in oil demand to 2030, and nearly half to 2050. Yet petrochemicals remain a blind spot for climate policy.

Attention needs to be paid to the unintended consequences of the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy on pollution and SDGs. For example, when looking at the plastics sector, combining biomass and carbon dioxide  utilization with effective and efficient recycling could help achieve a net-zero emissions goal for the plastic sector.

When looking ahead, better integration of chemical and climate policy is needed and opportunities for collaboration between the two fields should be sought.