US – UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg has launchedUS$85 million ‘Beyond Petrochemicals’ campaign aiming to halt the rapid expansion of petrochemical and plastic pollution in the United States.

The initiative as Michael R. Bloomberg says will tackle plastic producers by putting pressure on communities to block petrochemical expansion.

The mainly grassroots movement is advocating for stricter rules and regulations around the industry to reduce adverse health and climate effects as a cause of plastic plants’ emissions.

Beyond Petrochemicals has four key focuses: encourage community leadership in the focused area, fund studies around plastic production plants, influence laws to protect public health and the climate and engage with people to reduce plastic/petrochemical product demand.

The proposed petrochemical plants in the US will create decades of toxic pollution and GHG emissions if built, according to Beyond Petrochemicals.

“Petrochemicals are the root of both the climate crisis and the plastic pollution epidemic, both of which create existential threats to ocean ecosystems and people’s lives,” says Jacqueline Savitz, Chief Policy Officer, of Oceana.

Research supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies cited that this expansion would double emissions from the petrochemical and refinery industry to comprise 15% of the total US carbon budget. This could threaten the US meeting its Paris Agreement climate goals.

The petrochemical industry has been shown to have detrimental effects on public health.

Communities nearby plants experience some of the highest rates of pollution-linked cancer and poor health outcomes, states the organization based on research from the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

For instance, an area in Louisiana is highly populated by petrochemical production facilities, accounting for 25% of those in the nation.

Those who live nearby the facilities have far higher cancer rates than the national average, with reports that in some towns, almost every household has suffered from premature death.

“This campaign will help ensure more local victories, support laws that protect communities from harm, and reduce the GHG emissions that are fueling the climate crisis,” says Bloomberg.

Beyond Petrochemicals aims to safeguard the health of US communities by blocking the new proposed plastic production plants.

Bloomberg’s landmark announcement comes on the heels of two powerful wins in the growing fight to stop the rise of toxic pollution from the petrochemical industry: Louisiana’s 19th Judicial District Court’s stunning rejection of Formosa’s enormous “Sunshine” plastic project and the cancellation of the South Louisiana Methanol project.

These projects would have been significant emitters of carbon and toxic pollution, and both would have been located near Black communities in St. James Parish, Louisiana, in the heart of “Cancer Alley.”

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