Global chemical group offers eight principles for post-2012 GHG talks

Prior to the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) announced eight policy principles to guide post-2012 discussions. ICCA’s eight principles for reducing worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are:

1. Develop a global carbon framework to accelerate GHG reductions, avoid market distortions, and minimize carbon leakage. A global framework is needed to reduce the risk of market distortions and the movement of industrial production and GHG emissions from one nation to another, known as carbon leakage.

2. Focus on the largest, most effective, and lowest-cost abatement opportunities. Policies should encourage widespread use of measures with the greatest emission reduction impact for the least cost. Policies should include incentives for use of GHG-saving products and materials; focus on scale, cost, and implementation speed; and support research and development in innovation.

3. Push for energy efficiency. Policies should focus on major efficiency improvement opportunities, support research and development, and provide incentives for consumer and industry adoption of new energy efficiency measures. National, regional, and global energy efficiency standards, including the use of chemical industry products, should be considered.

As demonstrated in a recent study titled Innovations for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions, the industry offers additional mitigation potential through the right use of the chemical products and technologies by 2030. For the full report, visit www.icca-chem.org/.

4. Support development and implementation of new technologies. Policies should support significant funding for research and development and encourage use of performance targets to help ensure that effective solutions are implemented, rather than stipulating specific technologies.

5. Support development of the most efficient and sustainable use of available feedstocks and energy. Policies should promote improved energy and GHG efficiency rather than restrict the use of a specific energy raw material, or “feedstock.” Policies should recognize the vital role of fossil fuel feedstocks for the chemical industry, including their use in the manufacture of energy-saving materials; support research, development, and infrastructure for renewable feedstocks; and consider energy security and energy diversity needs.

6. Provide incentives for faster action by rewarding “early movers” that proactively reduce their carbon footprint. Policies should reward those who have invested in technology to implement GHG emission reduction measures and provide measures to accelerate action by those that have fallen behind, while not jeopardizing investments made by “early movers.” These policies should use cost performance-based measures when identifying technologies to support.

7. Push for the most efficient and sustainable disposal, recovery, and recycling options. Disposal methods for chemistry-based products (eg, landfill, incineration with or without heat recovery and recycling) are unequal across regions, which has a significant impact on total emissions over the life cycle of a product. Policies should support development of new technologies and practices that ensure that the most efficient and sustainable disposal, recovery, or recycling options are implemented.

8. Develop technology cooperation to support abatement in developing countries. GHG emissions reduction efforts can affect production costs, leading to concerns about the impact of technology cooperation on competitiveness. To realize the GHG emissions savings potential globally, policies should ensure a level playing field for industry by introducing comparable or complementary efforts for GHG reductions in all regions of the world, recognizing regional differences and priorities, and offering incentives for capital-intensive measures to accelerate emissions reduction.

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