The report reveals that with regards to climate change, plastic is the new coal. It is deeply worrisome that few people in government or in the business community are even talking about plastics’ climate impact – yet. That must change quickly if we hope to remain within the 1.5° C global temperature increase scientists have pinpointed as critical to avoiding the most devastating impacts of climate change. Hence, this new report! As Congress finalizes federal spending bills and the United Nations prepares to meet for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland next month, their failure to acknowledge and act to reduce plastics’ contribution to climate change threatens to undermine global climate change mitigation efforts.
Report’s findings include:
- The plastics industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are on track to surpass those of coal-fired power in the U.S. by 2030.
- As of 2020, the U.S. plastics industry is responsible for at least 232 million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year. This amount is equivalent to the average emissions from 116 average-sized (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants.
- 90% of the reported pollution from U.S. plastics manufacturing is released into just 18 communities located mostly in Louisiana and Texas. The people who live within three miles of these petrochemical clusters earn 28% less than the average U.S. household and are 67% more likely to be people of color — a massive environmental injustice
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