Climate warning
Image of Intelligence.gov

Intelligence.gov

Climate warning

Talks for a plastic pollution treaty are stalling. Could the U.S. be doing more?

Negotiators from about 175 countries have been sparring for more than a year over a treaty to clean up plastic pollution that's choking rivers and piling up in landfills. As a critical new round of deliberations starts this week in Canada, the talks are floundering.Some scientists and civil society groups say the United States bears a lot of the blame.Almost every piece of plastic is made from fossil fuels, and major oil and natural gas producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia have also been widely criticized for throwing up roadblocks in the negotiations. However, scientists and environmentalists following the talks say the U.S. exerts outsized influence on the process. The country is the top producer of oil and gas globally, and it has the world's biggest economy, which has historically given the U.S. huge sway in environmental negotiations.So far, American negotiators have been unwilling to push for measures in the treaty that would drive big cuts in plastic waste, critics say, like caps on manufacturing. Instead, they say, U.S. government representatives have put their weight behind policies around recycling and waste management that are favored by the country's giant fossil fuel and petrochemical industries. Researchers say those actions on their own won't drastically reduce plastic pollution."I don't think it's an understatement to say that where we're headed at right now with progress in negotiations is towards failure. And if there's one country that I think is responsible for that, I think it's the United States," says Douglas McCauley, a professor of environmental science at University of California, Santa Barbara, who has consulted with the U.S. State Department about the treaty and is attending the talks in Ottawa.NPR spoke to seven scientists and environmental advocates who have consulted with the U.S. government about the plastics negotiations, some multiple times. Many of those experts contend that an absence of U.S. leadership is hindering efforts to push forward a treaty with effective regulations. The outcome of the negotiations could also have big implications for human health. A recent study found plastics contain more than 4,200 hazardous chemicals, the vast majority of which aren't regulated globally, according to the researchers.
Image of post in post detailed view





Do you agree?

14 more agrees trigger social media ads

  • Ann Nyambura

    4 w

    The U.S. needs to step up and push for real change instead of just paying lip service to recycling.

    2
    • johnte ndeto

      4 w

      @ann_nyambura_542 It's disappointing to hear that talks for a plastic pollution treaty are stalling, especially given the urgency of the issue.

      1
    • Rashid Kamau

      4 w

      Strengthening air quality laws and regulations is one key policy action to significantly improve air quality

      3
      • johnte ndeto

        4 w

        @rashid_kamau recycling and waste management policies are important.

        1
      • We Don't Have Time

        4 w

        Dear johnte ndeto Your climate warning has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Intelligence.gov by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

        1
        • Munene Mugambi

          4 w

          Now more than ever, we need a plastic pollution treaty urgently to address the escalating environmental crisis. With plastics containing thousands of hazardous chemicals and harming ecosystems, global cooperation is vital to mitigate the damage and protect human health. They can do more to make this happen

          1
          • johnte ndeto

            4 w

            @munene_mugambi Advocating for measures like caps on manufacturing could be crucial in tackling this pressing issue effectively.

            1
          • walter lungayi

            4 w

            This is so worrying. Collaborative and decisive action is essential to address this pressing environmental issue.

            3
            • johnte ndeto

              4 w

              @walter_lungayi The United States, with its vast resources and influence, has a moral obligation to take bold action in tackling plastic pollution and should be held accountable for its lack of leadership in this critical issue.

              1
            • George Kariuki

              4 w

              We need strong leadership and meaningful action to tackle plastic pollution and protect our environment for future generations. 🌱🚯

              6
              • Munene Mugambi

                4 w

                @george_kariuki Sadly, that strong leadership will not be coming out of the US and it is time individual countries stop looking for change to come from outside but from within. If we want change, we have to make it happen.

                1
                • johnte ndeto

                  4 w

                  @george_kariuki the reluctance of American negotiators to push for meaningful action sends a concerning message to other countries and undermines the credibility of international environmental agreements.

                  1
                • Jane Wangui

                  4 w

                  The us being a super power should atleast put some effort in ensuring that the issue of pollution is solved for the common good of everyone.

                  9
                  • johnte ndeto

                    4 w

                    @jane_wangui the U.S. is undermining global efforts to combat plastic pollution and protect our planet for future generations.

                    1
                  • Joseph Githinji

                    4 w

                    This is a great concern, the US as a superpower should stand tall in negotiations concerning the environment, it is sad to see a fail in this critical deliberations.

                    11
                    • Munene Mugambi

                      4 w

                      @joseph_githinji Should? Certainly. But are they? No. The US is one of the largest plastic producers and users it's laughable to even think they want to get rid of plastics. Anything they're saying is possibly rhetoric and change begins at home. They need to change their policies first

                      1
                      • johnte ndeto

                        4 w

                        @joseph_githinji By prioritizing short-term economic interests over long-term environmental sustainability, the U.S. is undermining global efforts to combat plastic pollution.

                        1
                      Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
                      Post youtube preview with preloading
                      youtube overlay

                      Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

                      Write a climate review

                      Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
                      0 trees planted

                      One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

                      Download the app

                      We plant a tree for every new user.

                      AppleAndroid