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COP25: For Veolia, climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions are inseparable

The 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) is taking place from 2 to 13 December in Madrid, Spain. The participants – 196 countries and many NGOs - gathered under the slogan "Time for Action" to protect the planet. Veolia participated in several events on adaptation issues – a reminder that its commitment to reducing greenhouse gases in accordance with the Paris Agreement is complemented by the deployment of adaptation solutions, particularly in the water sector.

Adaptation to climate change is not contrary to mitigation, but contributes to it. For Veolia, the question of adaptation consists of looking at territories differently in terms of managing resources and their scarcity. The aim is to examine the relationship between resource producers and the need for resources, and to review the organization within a territory with one objective in mind: to do more with less. Adaptation, beyond risk management issues, is an opportunity for more cooperation and imagination to meet the challenges. Awareness of the climate emergency must drive forward the recognition and deployment of concrete solutions by companies in the territories," explained Pierre Victoria, Veolia's Director of Sustainable Development, at a side-event on "Adaptation in the water sector: ensuring water security in a context of climate change.

An event organized by the Global Alliances for Water and Climate and by the Moroccan Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water.

Veolia's adaptation solutions

Veolia helps to organize local circular economic loops to limit pressure on resources, without jeopardizing economic development.

The Group supports the development of territories with adaptation and resilience solutions to counter the effects of climate change, such as:

  • water recycling and wastewater reuse to reduce pressure on natural resources and conflicts of use in water stressed areas (for example in Durban);

  • managing urban sanitation networks during rain in order to limit the risk of flooding and its impact on health and biodiversity (as in Copenhagen and the Vallée de la Bièvre in France) ;

  • continuity and crisis and post-crisis management plans for the provision of essential services in the case of extreme weather events;

  • limiting urban heat islands such as in Nice;

  • contributing to the health and well-being of communities in areas at risk, such as coastal areas, which are affected by water stress or sea-level rise issues;

  • implementing scalable solutions to reduce the vulnerability of territories and develop preventive management as regards the risk of crises (in New Orleans and Milwaukee).

On february 7 for its annual Press Day, Veolia chose to explore a both optimist and realistic approach to what can be do to limit climate change.

Engage on the low-carbon transition

Veolia has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement. With a target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative: to reduce its GHG emissions by 22% by 2034, compared to the base year of 2018. 

This commitment includes objectives on

  • substituting coal-based heat production by less carbon emitting energies; 

  • better capture and recovery of biogas from waste storage; 

  • and purchasing less carbon-intensive electricity.

The Group contributed to the AFEP report on energy-climate scenarios with the aim of adopting a forward-looking scenario-based analysis approach, including both the trajectories in the Paris Agreement aimed at a drastic reduction in GHG emissions and other IPCC trajectories (for example, +3°C by 2100), requiring adaptation to the consequences of climate change.

Veolia's other interventions at COP25:

  • "Coping with natural resource scarcity - focusing on water-related issues, the way forward, priorities, keys to action", organized by Green Cross, Glispa and the International Water Office and Monaco Chamber for Renewable Energies and the Environment.

  • "The implementation of climate change adaptation strategies: overview and status report", by Comité 21 and Climate Chance.

  • "The place of higher education and research in the transformation of society in the context of the climate crisis", organized by the Unilasalle teaching group.