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ISC and its partners will organise the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.

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The programme contains around 300 science sessions on how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It is advised to filter them by Type, Date, Venue and Virtual/In-Person to help identifying the sessions you want to attend. 

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Back To Schedule
Thursday, September 28 • 9:00am - 12:30pm
[VIRTUAL] Can we de-fossilize chemicals and materials: fact or fiction? Sources of non-fossil carbon in a net-zero economy for the chemical and materials sector (280906)

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Can we de-fossilize chemicals and materials: fact or fiction?
Sources of non-fossil carbon in a net-zero economy for the chemical and materials sector.

As the world enters its most urgent climate crisis with many planetary boundaries crossed and the effects of climate change obvious to all, the need to decouple our economies and societies from fossil fuels becomes ever more urgent. Over 70% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas arise from fossil fuel, the larger proportion of which arises from combustion for energy. Although our response to climate change has been slow, there are now clear technological solutions for renewable energy which could allow a route to net zero carbon in this important sector. Less certain is how we de-carbonise industry where the de-carbonization issues are even more challenging. These include challenges such as the probable use of fossil-like fuels for high-temperature combustion (e.g. in the cement, glass and ceramic industries as well as aviation).

The chemical industry alone accounts for around 10% of the use of fossil fuels emitting some 3 – 5 Gt CO2 (6 -10% of global emissions). Our demand for the chemicals and materials (e.g. plastics) that are borne of fossil fuels is increasing, and by 2050 alone, our demand for plastic will reach 1 Bt and may account for up to 30% of global emissions.

A largely unanswered question is where the carbon we need for chemicals and materials comes from if not fossil resources. Many approaches are being studied but remain far from large-scale implementation.
  • The capture and conversion of CO2 may be a step forward, and several technologies are proposed:
  • Conversion of various forms of biomass (from waste through agriculture and ocean sources) to chemicals, plastics and fuels and contribute to a global bioeconomy. 
  • The circular economy may provide savings by extending the life of products, increasing reuse and the recycling of components and materials.
  • Synthetic photosynthesis may also develop as a direct route to carbon chemical and material building blocks.
This meeting will address key issues in developing non-fossil-based carbon sources for sustainable development.  Topics such as the following will be described by world-leading experts:
  • Challenges in a net-zero carbon industry and the role of circularity: Prof. M A Morris
  • The economics of net-zero economies
  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • The green chemical industry
The meeting will run for 3/3.5 hours with presentations for 2 hours, followed by an in-depth panel discussion to define the challenges and direction needed to meet these challenges globally. The results will be published as a critical review.

avatar for Philippe JACQUES

Philippe JACQUES

Managing Director, EMIRI
Chemical Engineer graduated from the University of Louvain‐la‐Neuve, Belgium, Philippe JACQUES joined Solvay in 1988 in Brussels, Belgium, and moved to various Intellectual Property, R&D management and senior leadership roles. Since 2018, he is part-time seconded as Managing Director... Read More →

Marty Rowland

President, Third Leg Consultants
New York and Louisiana licensed environmental engineer with academic and professional training and experience in ecology, social and economic equity, infrastructure (asset) management, land tax policy, and chemical contaminant remediation.

avatar for Lorraine Byrne

Lorraine Byrne

Executive Director, Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research (AMBER)
Lorraine Byrne is the Executive Director of the SFI Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research Centre (AMBER) which is headquartered at Trinity College Dublin. AMBER is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research centre which brings together a critical mass of... Read More →

Thursday September 28, 2023 9:00am - 12:30pm EDT
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