Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Why This Matters: As Kingsmill Bond, energy strategist as Carbon Tracker, told The Guardian, “It is simply delusional for the plastics industry to imagine that it can double its carbon emissions at the same time as the rest of the world is trying to cut them to zero.” And as the Carbon Tracker report predicted, the “mounting pressure to curtail the use of plastics” through regulation suggests that Big Oil will “lose its primary growth driver, making it more likely oil demand peaked as early as 2019.”
The Problems with Plastic
Plastics represent, according to Carbon Tracker, a “massive untaxed externality upon society.” This externality impacts global warming, ocean pollution, and public health. Now is the time to act on these issues; as Lidia Creech reported for Resource, a recent study demonstrated that without action, by 2040 the level of plastic pollution in our oceans could triple.
And, although some have argued that plastic is critical in fields like healthcare, as the report noted, “the amount of plastic used in PPE equipment is very low and not sufficient to outweigh falling plastic demand elsewhere.”
As Bond told The Guardian, “Remove the plastic pillar holding up the future of the oil industry, and the whole narrative of rising oil demand collapses.” Unfortunately, the petrochemical industry is betting that the demand for virgin plastics use will increase by a quarter at a cost of at least $400 billion in the next 5 years, risking huge losses for investors.
Disrupting the Plastics Industry
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to “curtail demand for virgin plastics” that Carbon Tracker outlines in its reports. The report details the three main solutions for this disruption: first, reducing demand by implementing “better design and regulation,” substituting plastic goods with other products, and “massively increas[ing]” recycling.
While a recent Pew Charitable Trusts report noted there is “no single solution” on issues like ocean plastic pollution, if a number of steps are taken hand-in-hand, including both pre-consumer and post-consumer solutions, important strides can be made.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Just weeks after China’s coal ambitions brought tensions to climate talks between US Climate Envoy John Kerry and Chinese officials, President Xi Jinping pledged to end all its financing of coal-fired projects abroad and allocate more funding to green and low-carbon energy projects in developing nations. The move represents […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor A new report has found that since the 2015 signing of the Paris agreement, more than 75% of the world’s planned coal plant projects have been scrapped, and 44 countries have no future coal plans whatsoever. The report’s authors hope this trend will continue as the COP26 conference in […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The House Ways and Means Committee has released their portion of the reconciliation for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The plan follows through on many promises made by the Biden administration, including clean energy tax credits and credits for electric vehicle owners. The plan, announced on the heels […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.