Report details impact of plastic on climate change


In 2019 alone, the production and incineration of plastics will contribute over 850 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, equal to the pollution from nearly 200 new coal fired plants, a new report from the Center for International Environmental Law has found.

The Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet has detailed how the rapid growth of the plastic industry – fuelled by access to cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing – details its devastating impact on environmental and human health.

“The massive and rapidly growing emissions from plastic production and disposal undermine that goal and jeopardize global efforts to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees of warming,” CIEL’s President Carroll Muffett said.

The new report gathers research on the greenhouse gas emissions of plastic at each stage of the plastic lifecycle—from its birth as fossil fuels through refining and manufacture to the massive emissions at (and after) plastic’s useful life ends—to create the most comprehensive review to date of the climate impacts of plastic.

The report details actions that can be taken to counter the growing impact of the plastic industry, including:

  • ending the production and use of single-use, disposable plastic;

  • stopping development of new oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure;

  • fostering the transition to zero-waste communities;

  • implementing extended producer responsibility as a critical component of circular economies; and

  • adopting and enforcing ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including plastic productio

The full report can be found here

A four-page executive summary can be found here