Chemicals and the Climate Challenge
The chemical and petrochemical sector is by far the largest industrial energy user, accounting for roughly 10% of total worldwide final energy demand and 7% of global GHG emissions¹. And, more than 95% of all manufactured products globally rely on chemistry. Chemical products and technologies also are used in a wide array of energy saving applications and therefore the industry also plays an important role in enabling the savings of GHG emissions through its application in several sectors (e.g. insulation, efficient lighting, lighter materials for automobiles and advanced materials for renewable technologies).
In 2005, global GHG emissions across the chemical industry were 3.3 GtCO2-eq (+/- 25%), with 2.1 Gt from the manufacture of products and 1.2 Gt from extraction of feedstock/fuel and disposal phases². A study compiling several life-cycle analyses (LCAs) showed that for every unit of carbon it emitted in 2005, the industry’s products and technologies enabled 2.1 units to 2.6 units of CO2-eq savings (compared to non-chemical alternatives)³.
The Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative for Chemicals will focus on identifying how the chemical industry can scale up reductions to its operational “footprint”, and deliver increasing GHG savings to society through its “handprint”.
¹ Technology Roadmap: Energy and GHG Reductions in the Chemical Industry via Catalytic Processes (2013), p. 1
² ICCA (International Council of Chemical Associations) (2009), Innovations for Greenhouse Gas Reductions: A Life-Cycle Quantification of Carbon Abatement Solutions Enabled by the Chemical Industry, ICCA, Amsterdam.