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EnvironmentMoving Beyond CarbonBeyond Petrochemicals

Ending Petrochemical Pollution at the Source

In September 2022, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg launched Beyond Petrochemicals: People Over Pollution, a new campaign that will aim to halt the rapid expansion of petrochemical and plastic pollution in the United States.

Drawing on the success of Beyond Coal and Beyond Carbon, Beyond Petrochemicals will block the expansion of more than 120 proposed petrochemical and plastic projects concentrated in three target geographies – Louisiana, Texas, and the Ohio River Valley – and will also work to establish stricter rules for existing plants to safeguard the health of American communities. 

Beyond Petrochemicals will turbocharge the work being done by frontline groups and aligned organizations that are leading the fight to end petrochemical pollution in these communities. If built, the more than 120 proposed petrochemical projects in the U.S. would lock in decades of toxic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Petrochemicals and plastics pose significant threats to:

  • Climate: New research from RMI reveals this expansion would double emissions from the petrochemical and refinery industry to comprise 15% of the total U.S. carbon budget, making it nearly impossible for the U.S. to meet its Paris Agreement climate goals.
  • Frontline Communities: Research from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University uncovered that toxic air pollutant levels in communities near petrochemical and industrial sites are higher than previously reported by EPA and other government agencies.
  • Public Health: It is estimated that the average person could be ingesting a credit card worth of plastic every week and has hundreds of petrochemicals circulating in their body. These chemicals have been linked to a range of health problems including cancer and infertility.


Planned Expansion of Petrochemical Facilities

yellow map on green background with 5 dots indicating Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast

Top photo: A petrochemical facility next to a residential neighborhood in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.