The Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) has unveiled a groundbreaking report, "Carbon Footprints of Different Renewable Carbon-based Chemicals and Materials," presenting five peer-reviewed life cycle assessments (LCAs) from industry leaders Avantium, BASF, IFF, Lenzing, and Neste.
In a world grappling with "Code Red" warnings on climate change from the UN, the report becomes a pivotal guide. Focused on carbon footprints, it underscores the urgency of addressing the impact of chemical and material production on global warming, where fossil resources contribute over 70% to human-made climate change.
Amid calls for decarbonization, the RCI advocates for a strategy of defossilization for carbon-dependent industries. The report emphasizes the necessity of replacing dominant fossil feedstocks with renewable carbon alternatives, whether bio-based, CO2-based, or recycled. Crucially, this shift contributes to circularity by sourcing carbon from the atmosphere, biosphere, and technosphere, eliminating the introduction of additional fossil carbon into the carbon cycle.
The materials and products showcased in the report exhibit significantly reduced carbon footprints, ranging from 30–90%, compared to their fossil counterparts. The findings not only highlight existing competitive renewable carbon-based materials but also emphasize their potential to further slash emissions in the future.
The report's introduction encourages policymakers to consider the implications of renewable carbon-based materials on climate change, positioning the case studies as essential tools in guiding decisions toward climate and net-zero targets. A key takeaway is the report's alignment with reducing the influx of additional fossil carbon, mitigating the need for costly atmospheric removal and underground storage—a crucial step in fostering a circular economy and carbon loops.