STANDARDS Link VOL 2 ISSUE 14 - Feature Article by Mr. Julius James
A Look Back
In light of the efforts at the SLBS on energy efficiency, the Standards Link, revisits, excerpts from an article "Managing Climate through Standards". the article was published in the 2009 issue of SLBS' annual magazine (Setting Standards) and was written by former Head of the Standards Development Department, Mr. Julius James.
Managing Climate Change through Standards
The phenomenon of climate change continues to draw growing and sustained attention by the international community as well as by individual countries, irrespective of size, level of economic development and or geographical make-up. Current estimates on existing and projected climate change suggest that global average temperatures will continue to increase 1.4°C to 6.4° C between 1990 and 2010 due to the increase in and lingering effects of greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to note that greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries are becoming increasingly significant. Increase in global average temperature will continue to affect the natural systems of the planet for several hundred years [even if emissions were reduced substantially or halted today] and may reach a point where it may be impossible to avoid dangerous interference with the global climate system.
Developing countries like St. Lucia must recognize the magnitude of the challenges they face in addressing the impacts associated with climate change and must choose wisely from a combinations of options. These include policies for emission-reduction technologies and practices, economic incentives, addressing factors that are related to overall development issues [e.g. political stability, market development, and education, income and poverty levels] and application of regulatory measures, principally regulations and standards. International standards are often used as a basis for regulations at the national level and compliance with such requirements are often achieved through enforcement regimes.
Current international standards that St. Lucia can use as practical tools in addressing climate-change include:
- Standards for the quantification, reporting, monitoring, validation and verification greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. ISO 14064-1:2006, ISO 14064-2:2006, ISO14064-3:2006 and ISO 14065:2007);
- Standards on measurement and methodology for quantifying energy efficiency;
- Standards on energy management; and
- Standards related to the development and use of new energy efficient technologies and renewable energy sources (e.g. solar power)
At the national level international standards have been adopted, such as ISO 14001, ISO14004, ISO 19011, which provide requirements for environmental management systems that can be broadly employed in addressing climate change issues. Also energy efficiency labeling standards for refrigerators have been adopted while similar standards for electrical lamps and air condition units are under development. Later, such standards could be extended to other sectors such as buildings, transport and industry so as to promote widely the more efficient use of energy.
Energy efficiency labelling standards will ensure that the energy cost of a particular product become more visible and measurable to the consumer. This will enable consumers to make informed decisions when making a purchase as this will take into account the relative energy efficiency of a product compared to other similar products. Labelling standards also aim to stimulate innovation in energy-efficient products, climate-friendly products and technologies.
In addition to standards and regulations for using energy more efficiently, the use of standards and practices aimed at reducing deforestation, improving land, farming management practices and waste management must form part of the combination of options for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
The above options tend to focus on actions to mitigate impacts of climate change and the extent to which these opportunities are fulfilled depends on the conformance to national policies and international action. Standard requirements for adaptation are somewhat more difficult to specify as adaptation is a more complex matter and depends on a multiplicity of factors at the national level, market size, education and poverty levels.
The islands of the Caribbean Community, because of factors such as geography (low lying islands), climate (influenced by higher ocean temperatures) and economic makeup (developing economies reliant on primary agriculture, natural resources and tourism) are very vulnerable to impacts of climate change. In fact a number of climate change impacts are now being observed, e.g. rising air and water temperatures, increase in frequency and severity of weather events, increase in frequency and scale of flooding, coastal erosion and increase in vector borne diseases. It is clear from these observations and occurrences, that for the Caribbean Region, adaptation to climate change is an issue to be confronted and addressed now.