With the recent call from Extinction Rebellion demonstrators to reduce harmful climate change emissions, environmental services firm, Veolia, is calling on other businesses and the public sector to recognise what can be achieved today and take the actions that are vital to reduce emissions.
The company explained that over recent years a number of industries and public sector organisations have already made major advances in reducing their carbon footprint with some achieving real carbon neutrality.
For example Veolia said that even taken alone, its have been carbon positive for a number of years meaning that it saves more carbon than it emits. With operations spanning recycling, water and energy management, and supporting this with a £2 billion investment, the company already saves customers over 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
“Carbon neutrality is not a pipe dream, as a nation we have the tools to achieve this today,” said Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer. “We all know that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is absolutely critical to help control the potentially devastating effects of climate change.”
“If we as a nation are to make sustainable choices, it is vital we calculate the true cost of carbon on our planet. To achieve the changes a carbon tax at £30 or £40 per tonne of carbon generated could provide the much needed investment in carbon saving technologies,” he added.
“We can support the 21st century lives we are all accustomed to but we need to deliver things like energy, materials, water and transport in a carbon friendly way,” Kirkman continued. “Currently we’re only scratching the surface and need to innovate more to curb carbon - to overturn the carbon shortfall in the UK carbon budget, we must think long term but act today.”
According to the company, recent examples of what can be achieved include:
- Transforming sewage, food waste, and non-recyclable household waste into low carbon and renewable electricity - enough for 1.2million homes
- Converting 350million glass bottles and jars into material for home insulation, saving 375,000 road journeys
- Producing 10,000 tonnes of high quality food grade plastic from recycled milk bottles - this requires 75% less energy and saves enough power for 20,000 homes.
- Turning ice cream manufacturing residue into renewable gas that supplies 4000 homes.
- Supporting the care for 8.1million hospital patients using low carbon energy that saves 120,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Introducing new fleets of electric vehicles to serve cities, and converting diesel vehicles.
“By working with industry, businesses, universities, hospitals, communities and local authorities to help them lower their carbon footprint we can secure their energy supply, improve efficiency and ultimately reduce their expenditure, while addressing the real environmental challenges of climate change.”
In research conducted by Veolia and Imperial College, the waste and resource sector has the potential to single-handedly save over 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions between the years 2023 - 2032, with more than 10% contributed to the UK’s anticipated carbon budget shortfall during this time period.
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