Get ready for pushback in the war on plastic

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Petrochemicals are becoming increasingly important to the oil industry as automobiles go electric.

The fossil fuel industry’s lobbying continues to be effective in Washington, slowing efficiency improvements for automobiles, rolling back light bulb regulations, and much more. But the rise of the electric automobile is expected to put a big dent into requirement. According into the International Energy Agency (IEA), this will place more emphasis on petrochemicals, which currently use 15 percentage of fossil fuels because their feedstocks, however is anticipated to rise to 50 percentage by 2040. According into Tim Young in the Financial Times,

It is the only important source of oil need where growth is forecast to accelerate. These predictions assume a continuous, strong demand for plastic will translate into increasing consumption of feedstock. They provide a rare ray of optimism for the oil industry against increasingly dire long-term predictions that expansion of other need resources will impede.

Macarthur foundationEllen Macarthur Foundation/CC BY two .0

So what occurs if the war on plastics grabs on? Big difficulty. Just reduced need for plastic luggage and increasing recycling from 5 to 25 percent may alter these projections and investments in brand new capacity.

Using the IEA World Energy Outlook as a standard, these two modifications would diminish oil need from petrochemicals in 2040 by greater than 20 percent. It could bring projected peak oil need ahead by a decade and diminish the demand for oil-based petrochemical production capacity by 20 percent. The dent in oil need 2040 would surpass the one which the IEA predicts would accompany the introduction of electric automobiles.

Tim Young thinks this will make a big dent in the industry, and that “if companies push ahead with investment based on standard forecasts to expand petrochemical operations, stranded assets may lie ahead.” I wonder if he underestimates the ingenuity and power the oil industry.

Throwaway livingThrowaway Living/Screen catch

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