Screenshot from summary of IEA report, "The Future of Petrochemicals"

Rising use of petrochemicals that make plastics and other products will be the largest source of crude oil demand growth in coming decades, the International Energy Agency said in a new report.

The big picture: "Petrochemicals ... are set to account for more than a third of the growth in oil demand to 2030, and nearly half to 2050, ahead of trucks, aviation and shipping," the report shows.

  • Petrochemicals are used to make plastics, as well as fertilizers, clothes and a wide array of other products.
  • "Demand for plastics – the most familiar group of petrochemical products – has outpaced that of all other bulk materials (such as steel, aluminum or cement), and has nearly doubled since 2000," IEA notes.
  • The report also notes that petrochemicals are used to make parts of clean-energy technologies, such as solar panels and batteries.

Why it matters: The IEA report calls the topic a "blind spot" in energy policy debates.

Petrochemicals are fundamental and helpful parts of the global economy, but also pose major pollution problems and represent a growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  • In particular, plastics are a major marine pollution problem.
  • More broadly, the report's long-term forecast shows that recycling and efforts to curb single-use plastics will be "far outweighed" by rising plastics consumption in developing economies.
  • In addition, the chemical sector represents 18% of all industrial-sector carbon emissions, and IEA forecasts substantial emissions growth in coming decades.

What's next (or could be): The report offers a "clean technology scenario" to lower the environmental toll of petrochemicals in coming decades.

  • It includes the adoption of better waste management and recycling to help cut ocean-bound plastic waste in half and the use of carbon capture and storage among other actions.

Go deeper: Reuters has more here.

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Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.