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The chemical sector is the largest industrial consumer of both oil and gas. Yet despite being the largest industrial energy consumer, it is the third industry subsector in terms of direct CO2 emissions – behind iron and steel and cement. This is largely because around half of the sector’s energy input is consumed as feedstock, the emissions of which are released downstream in other sectors.

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Key findings

Direct CO2 emissions from primary chemical production in the Net Zero Scenario, 2015-2030


Growing demand for chemical products

Direct CO2 emissions from primary chemical production were 920 Mt CO2 in 2020, a 2.3% decrease from the previous year, resulting from production declines due to the Covid-19 crisis. In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, emissions from primary chemical production peak in the next few years and then decline to about 10% below the 2020 level by 2030, despite strong growth in demand. To get on track, government and industry efforts need to address CO2 emissions from chemical production, as well as from the use and disposal of chemical products.
Our work

The IETS TCP focuses on energy use in a broad range of industry sectors with significant potential for emissions and cost savings. The IETS TCP work programme ranges from aspects relating to development of processes and energy technologies, to overall system analysis and energy efficiency in industry sectors.