Chemical products, such as plastics, solvents, and fertilizers, are essential for supporting modern lifestyles. Yet, producing, using and disposing of chemicals creates adverse environmental impacts which threaten the industry's license to operate. This study presents seven planet compatible pathways towards 2050 employing demand-side and supply-side interventions with total investment costs of US$1.2-3.7 billion. Resource efficiency and circularity interventions reduce global chemicals demand by 23–33% and are critical for mitigating risks associated with using fossil feedstocks and carbon capture and sequestration, and constraints on available biogenic and recyclate feedstocks. Replacing fossil feedstocks with biogenic/air-capture sources, shifting carbon destinations from atmosphere to ground, and electrifying/decarbonizing energy supply for production technologies, could enable net negative emissions of 200 MtCO2eq yr-1, while still delivering essential chemical-based services to society.
Supplementary Materials for Planet compatible pathways for transitioning the chemical industry