This Chemistry and Energy Efficiency module introduces students to the products responsible for the most CO2 savings attributable to the chemical industry. Through background reading, hands-on activities, online interviews students will gain an understanding of how advancements in the chemical industry are assisting in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), along with other greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere are causing global climate change. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, individuals, industry, and governments will have to make changes in their actions and policies. The chemistry industry employs more than 3.6 million people across a variety of fields. Their products play a role in all aspects of life, including health, agriculture, clothing, construction, transport, and leisure. In order to analyze their impact on greenhouse gas emissions, the chemical industry commissioned a third party study to conduct an extensive study. The study focused on the full life cycle CO2 emissions, from extraction of feedstock and fuel, through production, to disposal. Overall, the study found that the chemistry industry has improved its energy savings at manufacturing sites, while still increasing chemical production. The industry itself is taking steps to reduce its energy consumption while manufacturing products. The study also found that over the life cycle of many products there are fewer CO2 emissions when compared to other products not produced by the chemical industry.

Grade Levels

Intermediate (6-8)
Secondary (9-12)


5 class periods – 10 or more class periods (one class period is 50 minutes) Time will vary depending on how many activities you choose to do. Each topic has one or more activities associated with it. You may choose which activities will best fit in your time frame and meet the needs of your students.

Teacher Guide Sections

Introduction to Chemistry and Energy Efficiency
Fertilizer and Crop Production

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