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Science provides strong evidence of the climate impacts generated across the full life cycle of plastics. Greenhouse gases are emitted throughout the entire life cycle of plastics, estimated as between 3.8 and 4.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is set to grow with a projected increase in primary plastic production.

Early 2023, GRID-Arendal in partnership with University of Wollongong has initiated a project leading to the report “Climate Impacts of Plastics: Global Action to Stem plastic Pollution”. The report seeks to identify options for measures and strengthen governmental accountability in addressing the climate impacts of plastics. It aims to maximise the climate benefits of the plastics instrument, currently under negotiations, clearly delineating responsibilities in conjunction with the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The report aspires to strengthen plastics governance and climate action at the national and global levels by informing about the links between plastic and climate change. The report is meant to support decision-making processes by presenting the latest scientific evidence in an easily accessible and digestible format, which is relevant in the process of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution as well as the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on a Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution.

As part of the preparation process, an Expert Group the Impacts of Plastic on Climate Change was established to provide advice and voluntary inputs on the issues related to global plastic governance and climate change.

The report launch was presented during the UNEA-6 side-event “Synergies in the governance of climate change & plastics in the context of triple planetary crisis” and officially launched in the framework of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues and hosted by Geneva Environment Network on the 20th of March 2024.

Tags: climate change governance plastic

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