Dow chief says energy, environment major threats

07 June 2007 20:26  [Source: ICIS news]

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia (ICIS news)--Global energy and environmental issues pose the most serious threat to society and the chemicals industry, Dow Chemical chairman Andrew Liveris said on Thursday.

Speaking at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) annual meeting, Liveris said that “the world is awash in uncertainty and risk, and we have to respond collectively for sustainable success for the good of our industry and for the good of the world”.

Liveris, who also serves as chairman of the council, said the rising demand for and cost of energy “is the major issue of our time along with the related challenge of climate change”. 

“The insatiable global demand for fossil fuels is driving both the increasing cost for energy and climate change,” he said.

He warned that unless the chemicals industry can bring its technical expertise to the energy crisis, the rising demand for energy amid its increasing cost could destabilise nations across the globe.

“If we do not move now to break the connection between fossil fuels and economic development, the result will be instability, war and terrorism,” he said.

“Chemistry is the great enabler,” Liveris added. “We can bring our technology to the energy challenge, for example with insulation aiding energy savings and efficiency and coal gasification providing alternative fuels.”

He said the chemicals industry has secured a place at the policymaking table in the US, EU and elsewhere, noting that “You’re either at the table or on the menu” when it comes to making energy and environmental policy decisions.

In addition to the challenges of energy demand and climate change, Liveris said the chemicals industry faces risks of over-regulation. He cited growing pressure for additional chemical industry regulation from the new Democrat majority US Congress, adding: “If there is a Democrat administration in the White House in 2009, that pressure will be magnified many fold.”

Liveris urged industry executives to work to educate chemical production colleagues worldwide toward sustainable and environmentally sound development, noting that chemical accidents abroad - such as the 1984 Bhopal disaster - undermine confidence in the chemicals industry globally.

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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