Veolia has called for a corporate carbon tax to be implemented at COP 21.
Speaking at the company’s recent event A corporate carbon tax – the last chance to stop climate change? In London, its chairman and chief executive officer, Antoine Frérot, reminded attendees that the fight against climate change called for the implementation of a number of essential measures to ensure its success.
In addition to the development of a circular economy, which emits much less CO2, and the capture and sequestration of methane - a gas with larger warming potential than carbon – Mr Frérot declared his company’s support for wide-scale deployment of a carbon tax.
He said that the tax should be set at €30 to €40 per tonne of CO2 and needs to be clear and easy-to-understand, while ambitious in its approach.
Veolia called for the tax to be implemented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21) in December, where business, government and public bodies will come together to accelerate international sustainable development.
Mr Frérot said: “COP 21 is a unique, potentially last chance, opportunity to cap global warming at two degrees celsius. This can be best achieved through a carbon tax to be implemented on a large scale.”
“Polluting is currently free, whilst decontaminating is expensive. Clearly this is unfair and must change. A carbon tax would incentivise businesses to look towards more sustainable technologies and renewable energies.”
He continued: “In addition, the money raised by the tax can be invested in sustainable technology and paid to those who invest to ensure their operations are ‘carbon-free’. There needs to be a system where the polluter pays and the ‘environmentally conscious’ are supported.
“The EU can, and must, lead on the issue by introducing its own carbon tax. Whilst a tax would make EU goods more expensive, negative effects could be offset by a carbon customs duty on goods entering the EU.
“Without action, life will become unsustainable in some regions, extreme weather will become the norm and we risk huge geopolitical and economic consequences.”
Mr Frérot explained how the first step is to give carbon a robust and predictable cost. Veolia is taking the lead on this by establishing its own internal carbon tax, which aims to price carbon at €31 per tonne by 2030. In April this year, the company committed to the World Economic Forum and Global Compact commitments, reinforcing its September 2014 commitments to the World Bank and the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group Carbon Price Communiqué.