EPCA '19: Government critical in industry pursuit of sustainability

Author: Pearl Bantillo


BERLIN (ICIS)--Government regulations are necessary in the petrochemical industry’s pursuit of sustainability and ultimately address the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, Nobel laureate economist Paul Romer said on Tuesday.

Sound regulations based on facts and careful study would help the industry move forward in finding solutions to existing problems related to CO2 emissions.

“The government is an important part of this productive process in exploring possibilities,” Romer said in a keynote speech at the opening of the 53rd European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) conference.

“Sometimes, we need a government, which is a little bit unpleasant to deal with - a government which can say ‘No, you can't keep doing that’,” Romer added.

Governments can administer proper incentives for beneficial solutions that the industry can come up with, while impose taxes to curb harmful market practices in pursuit of profitability.

"If you keep getting government out of the way, the market does not work. In fact, what the market will do is pursue a lot of .... the easy profits or things that are going to be harmful," said Romer, pictured.

Romer, who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, is a professor at the New York University and former chief economist at the World Bank.

The EPCA annual meeting runs in Berlin on 6-9 October.

Pictures sources: Simon Katzer/imageBROKER/Shutterstock and Nobel Prize 

Click here to see regulatory targets and a list of chemical and mechanical recyclers on the ICIS Circular Economy topic page.