Todays date:
19 November 2017
gas emissions

THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARDS IN REDUCING CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer).

International standards offer practical tools for addressing climate change. Standards address climate change from four main aspects:

  • Monitoring climate change.
  •  Quantifying Greenhouse Gases GHG) emissions and communication on environmental impacts.
  •   Promoting good practice in environmental management and design.
  •  Opening world markets for energy efficient technologies.

gas emissions

Presently organizations are employing more energy efficient strategies aimed at reducing GHG emissions, but who measures this? This is where the use of International Standards becomes imperative as standardisation aims to provide for common, recognized verification as well as documentation.

International Standards provide the necessary baseline for comparability and the effective trading of emissions, and they ensure that “one tonne of CO2 is indeed one tonne of CO2”. Standards can help with providing the metric to assess energy savings potential. If this is done then the world can have validated information on how much is being done in as far as climate change is concerned.

Developing International standards especially in relation to climate change is necessitated by the fact that GHG emissions have a global impact as opposed to traditional emissions so there is need for harmonization of GHG accounting and reporting procedures. With the use of International Standards such as the  Environmental Management (ISO 14000 series), and other Management systems (ISO 9000 series), performance, monitoring, safety, design and controls standards, the current situation can be controlled or rather slowed down, for both developing countries and mostly for developed countries.

Standards can help fight climate change by providing a basis for ensuring trust, integrity and management in the quantification, measurement and verification of GHG emissions. More importantly, standards can also provide the tools for development of energy efficiency and alternative sources. Standards can be used to support innovation by sharing best practice, so designers can focus on developing better products adhering to the best possible environmental standards so as to protect our planet. Standards also help to harmonize codes of best practice improving the measurement of carbon footprint with better informed choices.

International Standards can help fight climate change by providing a basis for ensuring trust, integrity and effective management in the quantification, measurement and verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation efforts (ISO 14064 series and ISO 14065), and practical tools for the development of energy efficiency and alternative energy sources.

There appears to be a complexity in establishing a link between standards and climate change. Upon careful consideration, the relationship between these two key issues becomes apparent. Simply put, standardisation makes the case for a cleaner, safer and healthier environment. For example, the idea of reducing one’s carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a person, organization, or location at a given point in time. Carbon footprint quantifies the environmental impact in terms of carbon emissions measured in units of carbon dioxide.

As the world grapples with the task of establishing workable solutions to tackle climate change and reducing carbon emissions (which is a global problem) it would seem logical that the largest contributors should bear the brunt of this responsibility.

However, in an increasingly integrated world, this may not be the best approach for us to take, at either the individual or the national level. Within the context of national agenda of developing countries as it relates to the environment, standards are one of many avenues that must be pursued and embraced simultaneously.

For developing countries which rely heavily on its natural resources for economic development and prosperity there are issues with which developing countries should be concerned.

The efforts in limiting global climate change through human interventions to reduce or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases are multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral and hence, will require collaborative efforts from all quarters to actively pursue policy and strategies that give smaller countries a fighting chance. International standards are without doubt the tools to address climate change and hence, countries need to ensure that policies are in line with climate change. It goes without saying that International standards together with stringent conformity assessment offers the best solutions for both developed and developing nations in the epoch of climate change. International standards offer policy makers, industry and users the common tools which they need to work together on tackling climate change.

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