The global chemical industry is responsible for 4% of emissions: how can we decarbonise it?

How do you clean up a notoriously polluting industry on which it seems the whole world relies?

The global chemical industry is responsible for about 4% of greenhouse gas emissions: and much of that can’t be abated by just switching to renewable energy.

But it also makes most of the building blocks for everything we use: from plastics and other materials we surround ourselves with, through to medicines and fertilisers crucial for growing our food.

If done right, the industry says, it can not only get to net zero emissions by 2050, but be carbon-negative.

Cosmos chats to Daisuke Kanazawa, a collaborative researcher at the Centre for Global Commons in the University of Tokyo, Japan, on what the industry must do to decarbonise, and what it can do to be ahead of the game.

Kanazawa is a co-author of a report published last year from the University of Tokyo and consultancy company Systemiq.

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