Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Plastics Lifecycle

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a non-governmental organization that uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society.

With the help of Plastics Solutions Fund, CIEL has launched a project designed to expose the hidden links between plastics and climate change.

CIEL is partnering with colleagues who have decades of experience in quantifying the emissions at each stage of the plastics production process to write a report linking what have been, up until now, largely discrete areas of research. The report provides a comprehensive overview of each stage of the plastics production lifecycle and calculates the greenhouse gas emissions of the plastics lifecycle in full. This project is intended to clearly expose the link between plastics production and climate change, and to show that plastic production, if unchecked, will undermine efforts to keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees.  Because of the comprehensive nature of the report, nearly every oil-and-gas campaigner, whether focused on supply- or demand-side targets, will be able to leverage its findings to challenge the narrative about the role of fossil fuels in a low-carbon economy.

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