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Resources on Plastics in the Environment (June 2022): Climate Change

By Margaret Manion

Climate Change

Plastic pollution and climate change are of often seen as two separate issues: readers may find that only a relatively small percentage of research articles and very few books deal with both issues at once. However, in their edited volume Marine Pollution and Climate Change, AndreĢs Arias and Jorge Marcovecchio show how the two issues are inextricably linked, in particular because some of the most commonly used and frequently discarded plastics, such as polyethylene, emit methane and ethylene, both known greenhouse gases (GHGs), when exposed to ambient solar radiation. Given current levels of plastic pollution, contributors to this volume predict that it will be difficult to limit the increase in average global temperature by 2100 to only two degrees Celsius. For a more popular approach, readers may want to acquire a copy of the freely available report “Plastic & Climate,” edited by Amanda Kistler and Carroll Muffett. Commissioned by the Center for International Environmental Law, this work focuses on calculating the GHG emissions directly resulting from plastics production itself as well as those caused by acquisition and transport of the raw materials. In chapter 8 (“Findings and Recommendations”) readers may find the section “Lifecycle Plastic Emissions Relative to Mitigation Scenarios and Carbon Budget Targets” to be of particular interest.