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Plastics help meet Kyoto demands

By David Reed, UT EditorLudwigshafen, Germany-Over 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved in Germany alone, if the country’s 24 million housing units were better insulated, according to a BASF Group statement. This represents almost a third of Germany’s required reductions according to the Kyoto agreement, BASF points out in the 14 Feb statement, issued to coincide with the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol from 16 Feb.In addition, the BASF statement continues, the use of plastics in the automobile industry has already helped cut CO2 emissions for many years. Plastics now account for 14 percent of the total weight of a medium-sized car, the firm adds, pointing out that they make cars lighter. This results in annual fuel savings of more than 2.3 million tonnes in Western Europe and cuts CO2 emissions by 9.2 million tonnes a year, BASF says.The firm also says it has “been championing a sustainable approach to natural resources” for many years, citing “an important step in the early 1970s” when it networked energy flows at its Ludwigshafen site. “Since then, the energy released in production plants is used to generate steam … [which] … is made available … to other plants that need additional energy. This has broken the link between production and resource requirements,” the firm emphasises.Because of these measures, between 1990 and 2002 BASF reduced greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of product sold by 61 percent, a 38-percent reduction in absolute terms, the firm says. By 2012, BASF says it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of product by a further 10 percent compared with 2002, while further expanding its global production capacities.”

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