Plastics and Climate Change

Plastic is made from fossil fuels, which is plastic’s biggest connection to climate change (See: How Plastics are Made) ).  Also, the percentage of global greenhouse gases from plastic production is expected to increase steadily according to the International Energy Agency.

“The plastic pollution crisis that overwhelms our oceans is also a significant and growing threat to the Earth’s climate. At current levels, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C. With the petrochemical and plastic industries planning a massive expansion in production, the problem is on track to get much worse.” according to a report from the Center for International Environmental Law. “By 2050, the greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatons—10-13 percent of the entire remaining carbon budget greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C. With the petrochemical and plastic industries planning a massive expansion in production, the problem is on track to get much worse.”

The Washington State Legislature is considering several bills aimed to reduce the use of plastics within the state. See the WA Climate Legislation site to learn more about what happened to those bills.

References relating to the intersection of Climate Change and Plastics: