ISO is collaborating globally to update and extend its climate change standards and help the world minimize and adapt to the effects of climate change.

There is now little doubt that climate change is happening. It is the major environmental challenge of the 21st century, and it affects us all. “The scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” states the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The group of 1 300 independent scientific experts from around the world concludes that there is a more than 90 % probability that greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, produced by human (anthropogenic) activity, have caused much of the observed increase in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years.

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Never a greater need for standards

Our world is getting hotter, and we can see the evidence in loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rises, warming oceans, more intense heat waves, and an increase in extreme events such as wildfires, drought, tropical storms and floods. Why is this happening? In its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC states that most of the current global warming trend is human-induced – much of it from burning fossil fuels in power stations and in our cars – and is proceeding at a rate unprecedented in the past 1 300 years.

Universal agreement

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has resolved to achieve, “for the first time, in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all nations of the world ”, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 °C by the end of the century – an agreement seen as crucial by the scientific community who advise that warming above 2 °C is likely to lead to catastrophic and irreversible weather events.

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