A year after a major overhaul of the nation’s wool fabric industry, the world’s largest consumer of the material is about to hit a new, more environmentally friendly phase.
The International Wool Board announced last week that it will be introducing a new polypropylene textile fabric that is the first to use carbon nanotubes as a substitute for wool in a decade.
The announcement comes as the board seeks to make its way toward the goals set by President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election to eliminate the use of carbon in the manufacture of all products.
The goal is to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, which account for about 80 percent of the global warming that causes climate change, by about half by 2020.
But the transition to the new fabric, which will be rolled out over the next several years, will be a major shift in wool production for the country.
“We’re seeing a lot of progress,” said Richard Dennison, president and CEO of the IWW, which represents workers in wool industry.
“But we’re not quite there yet.
We’re in a transitional phase, and we’ll see what happens.”
While wool production is still a key component of the economy in many parts of the world, it is not a sustainable source of energy, the board said in a statement.
The board said it would continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to work with governments and other industries to ensure a sustainable future.
“The board believes the transition is the right thing to do,” Denninson said.
“It is important that we transition quickly, but we’re optimistic.”
A decade ago, the textile industry was struggling to cope with the rise of renewable energy.
The U.S. was at a tipping point, and the world needed to shift its economic policies toward renewable energy, Dennider said.
The textile industry is now expected to add nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2025, and about a third of that will be in the apparel industry, according to the board.
The textile industry has long been the biggest contributor to U.K. employment.
But with the textile production industry facing a $1 trillion cost to clean up the planet, the transition away from wool is not just a matter of economic survival, but also a matter for the health of the environment.
A carbon-neutral textile would be the first of its kind in the world to use a new technology, said Kevin Murphy, a senior scientist with the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment at the University of California, Davis.
It would be a much safer, cleaner alternative than using wool, Murphy said.
Wool production is often done in a very polluting way.
It’s a product that produces tons of greenhouse gases and other harmful substances.
The technology is now very promising, but the cost of that is not sustainable, he said.
While wool is still the largest producer of wool products, other industries are starting to adopt the technology.
In 2017, the Australian government announced a plan to reduce the country’s reliance on wool production by about 10 percent by 2030.
But wool production has been a major source of CO2 emissions, said Dennision.
In 2017, a team of scientists and industry leaders proposed a new carbon-reducing textile.
The idea was to use the carbon nanotechnology in the fabric to make the wool absorb more CO2, thereby increasing its energy efficiency.
The carbon nanotechnologies were developed by the Australian National University’s Research Council.
But Murphy said it was unclear how the carbon-nanotechnology would work in the new material.
The IWW is not alone in advocating a carbon-free wool.
The World Wide Fund for Nature, a charity focused on protecting animals, said in 2017 it will end its use of wool in 2018.
The group also wants to stop using the wool in apparel.
While the IWNF says the textile’s carbon-emissions reduction is not viable, Murphy pointed out that the board has made significant progress toward the goal.
“Wool has a very long history of making this transition and a very successful transition,” he said, noting that the technology is currently being tested in some European nations.
“It’s really an important milestone in terms of the transition, but it’s still a long way to go.”
The IWNN has also been pushing for a transition to more sustainable, renewable energy sources in its statement.
In addition to the textile company, other major industries that are looking to use solar energy for power include the energy company NextEra Energy, the energy storage firm Powergrid, and energy technology company GE.