Plastic production to double in 20 years... Why?

It's like this. Imagine you’re the CEO of a large company.  And as a CEO you watch the natural rise and fall of your ‘portfolio’ of products.  It’s why Cheesies were hugely popular in the 90s and have since been replaced by gluten free, soy free, dairy free, plant based, crispy veggie bites.  

Now let’s talk about gasoline because, like Cheesies, it too has risen and - one day - will fall.  

When this ‘product’ first emerged, it was a hero.  It literally changed the world. Can you imagine life without cars (ROADTRIP!) and airplane trips to sunny destinations?  

But as with all things, there is a dark side.  And in recent decades we’ve learned Climate Change is real and our former hero - gasoline - is now our greatest villain.  

So if you were the CEO of an oil company and you saw your top performing product decline, what would you do?  You’d look for another product to take its place.

And what is that product?

You guessed it.  PLASTIC.  

Shell and other major producers are predicting that gas is on the decline, but plastic is not - yet.  And so what are they doing? Investing heavily in plastic production by building facilities all over the world, with some potentially devastating results.

“In the context of a world trying to shift off of fossil fuels as an energy source, this is where [oil and gas companies] see the growth,” said Steven Feit, a staff attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law, an advocacy group.  “You can think of plastic as a kind of subsidy for fracking.

Global emissions linked to plastic — now just under 900 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually — could by 2030 reach 1.3 billion tons, as much as almost 300 coal-fired power plants, the Center for International Environmental Law found. If output grows as planned, plastic would use up between 10 and 13 percent of the carbon emissions allowable if warming is to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the center reported.

“There is a whack-a-mole issue. Unless production slows, they’ll just find something else to wrap in plastic.”  [Wired Magzine]

Imagine you were the CEO of Shell, would you have what it takes to make a real change? 

What would you do differently to save your company and help our planet? Please tell us in the comments.

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  • I would just like to say Greta is not a hypocrite. She travels by boat and electric car. Plus, she’s a kid. Aren’t we above calling children names? I would think those interested in this site and etee’s mission would be a bit kinder.

    AShley G on
  • The people who make the important choices do not expect to be around that long!

    David Shore on
  • Invest and implement a Green New Deal with my personal/company fortune used to fund it.

    Mark on
  • Start a cultural revolution by abandoning greed and modeling sustainable practices. Yes, there is a profit to be made in fuel and plastic, but we have the scientific knowledge to do better. This is what Greta is trying to do (she recently SAILED across the ocean in the most eco-friendly sail boat. Due to the severe ignorance and greed of world leaders, major company CEOs and those who support/follow them, she has to fly to continue being the voice for adults to wake up and begin policy changes. TIME IS OF THE GREATEST ESSENCE.).
    Modeling sustainability is not a difficult concept but is a paradigm shift that involves true leadership.

    Essie on
  • Tell Greta Thunberg to paddle a canoe across the ocean. What a hypocrite, using fossil fuels to fly around the world to condemn people for exactly what she’s doing. What a hypocrite!!

    Melinda Bensler on

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