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Business Chemical Companies Pitch Their Own Concepts In Copenhagen

by Michael McCoy
December 14, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 50

It’s not just politicians and environmental activists in Copenhagen. On the sidelines of the big climate-change meeting, chemical companies are promoting their ideas for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Dow Chemical, the largest U.S. chemical maker, issued a statement supporting President Barack Obama’s decision to attend the meeting. The firm says predictable climate policy will both protect the environment and unleash investment in new technologies. BASF, the global chemical leader, signed the United Nation’s “Seal the Deal” campaign to galvanize business support for a treaty.

A notable chemical-related initiative comes from Coca-Cola, which promises that by 2015 all of its new vending machines and coolers will be free of hydrofluorocarbons, some of which have high global-warming potential. The company will instead use carbon dioxide refrigerants for large equipment and hydrocarbons for smaller equipment. Coke says its effort will save 52.5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents over the life of the equipment.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is driving politicians around in limousines that run on 85% straw-derived ethanol. Enzymes to make the second-generation ethanol were supplied by Danisco and Novozymes, two Danish firms. And biotechnology from Danisco plays a role in a concept tire that Goodyear is displaying in Copenhagen. The tire is made with isoprene derived from renewable rather than petroleum raw materials.

The Bella Center, where the conference is being held, is covered with carpet made out of Ingeo, a fiber from NatureWorks that’s based on corn-derived polylactic acid. NatureWorks, part of Cargill, estimates that using Ingeo reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared with using polypropylene fibers.


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