Plastics Aren’t Just Polluting — They’re Making Climate Change Worse

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Plastics adding to climate changeBy now, the headlines about dead whales washing ashore with pounds of plastic in their belly are commonplace. Photos of bird carcasses bursting with bottle caps and other plastic detritus are seared into our memory. But plastic’s effects on nature doesn’t stop there ― it’s also making climate change worse.

A new report published this week by the Center for International Environmental Law details the greenhouse gas emissions from each step in the lifecycle of plastics: from fossil fuel extraction, transport and refining to the production of consumer goods, the managing of plastic waste, and the proliferation of trash in the oceans. The study authors warn that, if demand for plastics continues to rise, the material’s contribution to climate change will grow significantly.

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