Berlin, 11 December 2015. European Bioplastics – the association representing the value chain of bioplastics in Europe – is supporting initiatives to develop global carbon-pricing mechanisms and implement them effectively. Such measures would be needed to incorporate the external costs of climate change into product prices and enable the development of greenhouse gas saving materials like bioplastics.
Putting a price tag on fossil carbon has been one of the major commitments that were discussed at the COP21 climate conference in Paris. This measure is designed to counter the return of cheap fossil feedstock like coal, oil or gas and the resulting increase in CO2 emissions.
“Oil prices of less than 50 U.S. dollars per barrel do not reflect the burden on the environment.” points out François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics. “A carbon pricing mechanism like taxation or emissions trading schemes are required to level out the negative effects of high volatility. The situation, as we see it today, may prevent protagonists from increasing investments in renewable chemicals and polymers”, states de Bie.
Bioplastics can help to reduce sector specific greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent or more, as revealed by life cycle analysis. The global production capacity was predicted to more than triple from around 1.7 million tonnes in 2014 to approximately 7.8 million tonnes in 2019. Building up bioplastics technology takes multi-billion euro long-term investments and requires adequate investor security.
The time for concrete action is at hand: bio-based products were found to be a “Lead Market for Innovation” in Europe, but a supportive framework has yet to be put in place. In the meantime, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached yet another new record high in 2014. In the aftermath of Paris, a course must be kept towards the era of a circular economy based on resource efficiency and renewability: European Bioplastics calls for global, robust and predictable carbon pricing mechanisms. Renewable carbon content in materials and products, derived from biomass rather than fossil sources, should be valued preferentially in order to safeguard investments in low-carbon technologies and solutions.