With just 200 days to the COP21, the heads of companies from all over the world are responding to the appeal made by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, asking the private sector to play an active role for the climate. They came to the Business & Climate Summit held at Unesco in Paris and with one voice called for an ambitious agreement to be made between governments to limit the temperature increase to 2°C when they meet in Paris in December. During a session on innovation, the CEO of Veolia, Antoine Frérot, talked about the key role Veolia could have in implementing a low-carbon economy.
Invent and disseminate a model. After implementing a carbon economy that has upset the planet's climate, will Man be able to invent a low-carbon economy? Innovation, including in technology, has allowed a number of concrete solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be developed but to accelerate their deployment worldwide, we need to develop economic models that encourage this.
Through its "Resourcing the world" mission, Veolia innovates everyday to collect, treat and recycle liquid, solid and gas pollution released into the environment, following circular economy principles. These varied solutions, such as unavoidable energy collected from waste, waste recycled to produce energy, energy savings, energy efficiency, forest biomass, production of secondary raw materials from waste, show that a low-carbon economy is possible. By way of example, we can cite the production of recycled PET plastic which emits 70% less carbon dioxide compared to the initial production of PET plastic.
Methane. Methane has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40% over the past twenty years. Yet, it is much easier and cheaper to capture and use than CO2. If we want to be effective quickly, it would be wise to begin massively reducing it now and it is for this reason that Veolia has undertaken to capture over 60% of methane released by the landfill sites it manages by 2020.
« Whoever pollutes pays, and whoever doesn’t pollute is helped ».
Widely deploying low-carbon solutions has become a necessity. No company, community, or nation can deploy them alone. We need to cooperate more to ensure that the waste produced by one becomes the raw materials of the other. We need to innovate in more ambitious partnerships that address the entire resource cycle and we need to show more solidarity to protect the air we all share by setting a carbon price that includes the cost of pollution:
« Whoever pollutes pays, and whoever doesn’t pollute is helped" reiterated Antoine Frérot who continued by saying, "We can decarbonize economic growth [...]. Without financial incentives or ambitious regulation that helps to innovate and rapidly disseminate innovation, we will not win the climate battle. That is why I would like to make one particular plea to those preparing the COP 21: distinguished diplomats, make us a good agreement and we will make you a good low-carbon economy».
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