These are difficult times, and there is no guarantee that they may not get worse. But they also remind us of the critical need to move beyond the Age of Oil, and develop more sustainable energy resources for the future.
Chemicals and the Economy
Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways.
Plastics producers are now being squeezed from both ends of the value chain. Upstream, the growing demand for Electric Vehicles is starting to lead to refinery closures, reducing feedstock availability. Downstream, brand owners are stepping up the pressure for increased use of recycled plastic, as the new Global Commitment report from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation […]
Net Zero is clearly the key issue of our time. With COP26 about to start, 3 key elements need to come together to ensure success. Political leaders have to agree to meet the Net Zero targets, and to provide $100bn/year to help poorer nations fund the changes needed. But nothing will happen on the ground […]
“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” These lines from Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel “Fiesta” (USA title ‘The Sun also Rises’), summarise where we now are with Evergrande’s likely default in China. It did indeed begin “gradually” at first – starting in February 2016. As I noted here […]
The European plastics industry last week took the crucial first step in moving away from virgin plastics towards a circular economy. It supported the Commission’s proposal for a mandatory 30% recycled content in plastics packaging by 2030. And it argued that this could only be achieved by the use of chemical recycling. It is hard […]
The floods raging in Germany and Benelux highlight the scale of the Climate Change challenge ahead. Last week, Europe announced its roadmap towards a Net Zero economy. It emphasised that achieving Net Zero, even by 2050, will be impossible if we don’t start now. As the Commission noted in presenting the strategy: “Climate change is […]
Almost every day now sees a car company rushing to announce its plans to boost Electric Vehicle (EV) output. And key OPEC members – such as the UAE – are starting to recognise they have only a few years left to sell their oil, before the market disappears. Last May, the influential International Energy Agency […]
Major new opportunities are starting to appear in today’s New Normal world, as I describe in a new analysis for the Institution of Chemical Engineers. Please click here to read the full article. We are set to enter a “New Normal” world as economies slowly reopen again with the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines. This will […]
Plastics has long been the ‘odd one out’ in terms of recycling. Steel, aluminium, glass, cardboard, rubber and paper routinely have up to a 70% rate of recycling. But plastics has been stuck at around 10% for a long time. President Biden’s Earth Day Summit is likely to change this picture, and quickly. The reason […]