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Heading off the ‘carbon bubble’

By Chemical Engineering |

The newest voices calling for action by industry on climate change issues are not the regulators, politicians, industry spokespeople, engineers or scientists. They come from a potentially far more influential group: the financial analysts and economists of an organization called the Carbon Tracker Initiative (London, U.K., www.carbontracker.org). Carbon Tracker approaches the issue of climate change as an exercise in understanding and managing risk. The chemical process industries (CPI) need to take notice of Carbon Tracker’s findings, because they could have far-ranging implications for the future of our companies. The findings of Carbon Tracker’s report, which was released about two years ago and has received great acclaim in sustainability circles, are slowly beginning to sink in with industry, and are as follows: • To avoid the risk of irreversible climate change, the world effectively has a budget for the carbon dioxide that can be released into the environment by using fossil fuels. That budget has been calculated at 886 billion metric tons (Gtons) of CO2 over the first 50 years of this century. But just 11 years into the 50-yr period, Carbon Tracker found that one third of the 886 Gtons had already been emitted •…
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