The UK chemical industry requires 'an urgent and radical rethink' into how it produces chemicals if it is to play its part in meeting Government's stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 80% plus by 2050.
That is one of the conclusions of a major new report issued today by the University of Manchester's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Entitled 'Can the UK afford (not) to produce chemicals in 2050?' the report was generated in collaboration with the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) following investigations into chemical sector greenhouse gas emissions.
Funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the report highlights the role of industry, the issues surrounding carbon leakage and the responses to the goal of reducing carbon emissions. Setting out the challenges, the report looks to encourage a long-term strategy that encompasses both a re-balanced and low carbon economy.
The report states that the chemical industry's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen significantly since 1990 by 70%. This is as a result of technological and efficiency improvements along with factors such as the economic crisis, rising energy and feedstock prices, factory closures and off-shoring.
The report adds that there is currently no evidence to suggest that the UK's carbon emissions targets have played a direct role in relocation.
Dr Paul Gilbert, lead author of the report, said: "If the UK chemical industry is to grow beyond 2050 then it needs to radically think how it will achieve absolute emission reductions across the sector. This will require the sector to go above and beyond incremental efficiency improvements. It will require significant changes to the current processes operated, with commensurately high levels of capital investment. This is challenging, but with changing patterns of supply and demand for chemicals overseas, it is something industry needs to step up to."
|Contact: Aeron Haworth|
University of Manchester