California summons Exxon for details of its role in global plastic pollution 2022-04-28 15:16:47

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Exxon Mobil Corp’s logo appears at the Rio Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 24, 2018.

Sergio Moraes | Reuters

California Attorney General on Thursday Announce an investigation In the fossil fuel and petrochemical industry, allegedly exaggerating the role of recycling in curbing global plastic pollution and exacerbating the crisis.

Attorney General Rob Ponta said his office has been summoned ExxonMobil To obtain information regarding the company’s alleged role in deceiving the public and exacerbating plastic pollution. The office did not specify the other companies it was investigating. Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When state and local legislatures in the 1980s began considering bills that would restrict or ban plastic products, fossil fuel and petrochemical companies began an “aggressive” and “deceptive” campaign to convince the public that they could mitigate the waste problem by recycling, which Ponta claimed In a press release I learned that this was not true.

“For more than half a century, the plastics industry has engaged in a vicious campaign to deceive the public, perpetuating the myth that recycling can solve the plastic crisis,” Ponta said. “The reality is that the vast majority of plastic cannot be recycled.”

“This first investigation of its kind will examine the fossil fuel industry’s role in creating and exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis – and what laws, if any, are being broken in the process,” Ponta said.

The world generates about 400 million tons of plastic waste each year, according to United Nations estimates. Plastics take hundreds of years to degrade, and the majority of plastics end up in landfills or the ocean. The United States recycles only about 9% of its plastics, according to Environmental Protection Agency.

Plastic is also set to drive nearly half of oil demand growth by mid-century, according to International Energy Agency. Fossil fuel and petrochemical companies have recently invested more than $200 billion To expand plastic production all over the world.

Environmental activist groups on Thursday praised the state’s investigation into the fossil fuel industry.

“For too long, ExxonMobil and other polluters have been allowed to mislead the public and harm people and the planet,” said Graham Forbes, Global Plastics Campaign Leader at Greenpeace USA. “The science has become very clear that we must move away from fossil fuels and plastic.”

– CNBC’s Katie Brigham contributed to this report

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