Last month, he introduced the city’s own version of the Green New Deal, which establishes goals of a zero carbon grid, zero carbon transportation, zero carbon buildings, zero waste, and zero wasted water by 2050.
Citing the environmental disasters the city has faced in recent years, the mayor explains in the 150-page plan that “the scale of our ambitions must meet the magnitude of this crisis.”
“With flames on our hillsides and floods in our streets, cities cannot wait another moment to confront the climate crisis with everything we’ve got”
“Politicians in Washington don’t have to look across the aisle in Congress to know what a Green New Deal is — they can look across the country, to Los Angeles,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a news release. “With flames on our hillsides and floods in our streets, cities cannot wait another moment to confront the climate crisis with everything we’ve got. L.A. is leading the charge, with a clear vision for protecting the environment and making our economy work for everyone.”
Imagine your favorite city. Now imagine the same city with more people. Lots and lots more people! A United Nations study predicts that global urban population will increase from 3.9 billion in 2015 to 6.3 billion in 2050.
Pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic jams, crowded areas – these are just a few of the problems that challenge many cities. And the steady rise in urban population only means these problems could get even worse. This is why Sustainable Development Goal SDG 11, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, is so important. Success in achieving the targets under SDG 11 sets the stage for achieving many of the other SDG goals.
International Standards provide the tools, foundations and platforms to take cities into the future, from Pully, Switzerland, to Sappada, Italy, and beyond. Let’s look at how these cities are faring.
We are all suffocating in the heat of global warming, as the recent European heatwave lays testament to – and it may soon become the norm. A study showed that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as they do, by 2100, 74% of the world’s population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves.
The only solution is to reduce our carbon footprint, but first we need to measure it. An internationally agreed ISO standard for quantifying the carbon footprint of products has just been published.
ISO 14067:2018, Greenhouse gases – Carbon footprint of products – Requirements and guidelines for quantification, has just been published as an International Standard, providing globally agreed principles, requirements and guidelines for the quantification and reporting of the carbon footprint of a product (CFP). It will give organizations of all kinds a means to calculate the carbon footprint of their products and provide a better understanding of ways in which they can reduce it.
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that there is a risk of Earth entering “Hothouse Earth” conditions where the climate in the long term will stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures and sea level 10-60 m higher than today.
Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.
Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still lurch on to this “irreversible pathway”.
Increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, largely as a result of burning fossil fuels, is heating up the planet and bringing with it catastrophic weather, disruptions to food production and other societal stresses. And it is mostly caused by us.
According to the United Nations, as the world’s population and standards of living grow, so too do the carbon and other emissions we release into the atmosphere.
A key goal of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, then, states that taking action to combat this phenomenon is essential, and it must be taken now. The newly published ISO 14080, Greenhouse gas management and related activities – Framework and principles for methodologies on climate actions, directly supports the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 °C and the UN Sustainable Development Goals by helping governments and businesses around the world do just that.
Keith Root, Environmental, Health & Safety Manager at EcoPower, explains how ISO standards – ISO 50001 and ISO 14064-3 – are helping to provide a solution.
It all comes out in the wash. And unfortunately for the environment, this is exactly what used to happen with the washing of jet engines when compressor cleaning spilled wash water containing minerals, metals, oils and other contaminants on to the ground.
EcoServices is one company that is helping to make a difference by not only investing in new technology, but also by taking coordinated action to implement new operating procedures, as EcoPower’s Keith Root explains.
Adaptation measures, however, will help us prepare for the worst – and new ISO standards are filling a gap by providing a badly needed high-level framework, helping organizations to cope and adapt.
Ever since the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the climate change mitigation race has been on. From summit to summit, governments everywhere were urged to put in place measures to bring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions down, along with Earth’s temperature.
Solar panel incentive schemes, hydroelectric dams, wind farms, electric transport and recycling campaigns are just some of the ways the world is tackling the issue – and yet, according to The Emissions Gap Report 2017 published by UN Environment, total global GHG emissions continue to rise, although the rate of growth has decreased over the past few years.
The move comes after talks all week at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.
Shippings has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as “history in the making”.
Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gas as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world’s sixth biggest emitter.
Measurements over Canada’s Mackenzie River Basin suggest that thawing permafrost is starting to free greenhouse gases long trapped in oil and gas deposits.
Global warming may be unleashing new sources of heat-trapping methane from layers of oil and gas that have been buried deep beneath Arctic permafrost for millennia. As the Earth’s frozen crust thaws, some of that gas appears to be finding new paths to the surface through permafrost that’s starting to resemble Swiss cheese in some areas, scientists said.
In a study released yesterday, the scientists used aerial sampling of the atmosphere to locate methane sources from permafrost along a 10,000 square-kilometer swath of the Mackenzie River Delta in northwestern Canada, an area known to have oil and gas desposits.
Deeply thawed pockets of permafrost, the research suggests, are releasing 17% of all the methane measured in the region, even though the emissions hotspots only make up 1% of the surface area, the scientists found.
In those areas, the peak concentrations of methane emissions were found to be 13 times higher than levels usually caused by bacterial decomposition—a well-known source of methane emissions from permafrost—which suggests the methane is likely also coming from geological sources, seeping up along faults and cracks in the permafrost, and from beneath lakes.
The findings suggest that global warming will “increase emissions of geologic methane that is currently still trapped under thick, continuous permafrost, as new emission pathways open due to thawing permafrost,” the authors wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. Along with triggering bacterial decomposition in permafrost soils, global warming can also trigger stronger emissions of methane from fossil gas, contributing to the carbon-climate feedback loop, they concluded.
By changing how they use water, rice growers in Arkansas, Mississippi and California cut their methane emissions and opened a door for agriculture in carbon markets.
The world’s largest software maker made a novel purchase recently—from a handful of rice farmers.
Microsoft bought carbon offsets from rice farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi and California who had worked for the better part of the last 10 years to implement conservation measures on their farms. Through a complicated measurement and verification process, these conservation steps ultimately translated to carbon offsets purchased by the software giant.
The transaction this month was the first of its kind and, in the complex and controversial world of carbon markets, it represents a milestone for agriculture.
“Now we know what it takes to do this,” said Debbie Reed, director of the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, a group that works with agricultural producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s not symbolic, so much as proof-of-concept.”
For years, researchers, advocacy groups and private-sector environment-focused investment groups have eyed agriculture’s potential contribution in carbon markets to help address climate change. But carbon trading is complex under any circumstances, and particularly so when the entities generating the offsets grow rice or corn or raise cows. Measuring emissions—or, rather, emissions reductions—accurately and consistently from agricultural sources can be more complicated than for wind energy or solar power projects.
“Developing a protocol with farmers that’s verifiable and rigorous enough so you can sell it in the market—that takes a long time,” Reed said.
Rice production emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas with significantly more warming power than carbon dioxide over a shorter period, though there is far less of it in the atmosphere. Globally, methane accounts for about 16% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The largest human-caused methane source is the oil and gas industry (about 33%), but raising livestock comes a close second (27%), and rice production alone contributes 9% of methane emissions.
Much of the methane emitted in the rice production process comes because of the way rice is grown—immersed in water, creating ripe conditions for the bacteria that emit methane. But researchers have found that “dry seeding” the rice, or planting the rice before the field is flooded, alternating between dry and wet periods and draining the field earlier in the season can reduce methane buildup.
Implementing an environmental management system can be challenging for small businesses. ISO’s new handbook has been designed to assist SMEs in improving their environmental performance using ISO 14001.
Susan L. K. Briggs, the author of the handbook and leader of the ISO/TC 207/SC 1/WG 5, the group that led the revision of this standard, says: “With the revised standard being issued, several new requirements were incorporated such as a focus on the organizational context, risks and opportunities, and leadership requirements.”
For SMEs, implementing an environmental management system can be a real challenge as technical and financial resources, in addition to staff time, is often limited.
“The key for SME success is to leverage their informal management structures and decision-making processes, not replace them with overly complex and bureaucratic methods.”
The author sums it up in a nutshell: “The standard provides the ‘what’, while the handbook provides the ‘how’. ISO 14001 is a set of environmental management requirements that an organization must satisfy. The handbook provides practical help, examples and guidance on how to meet those requirements.”
ISO 14001 is one of a number of International Standards that help support better environmental management and tackle climate change. Other ISO standards focus on the management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and helping organizations report their GHG emissions or reductions in order to comply with applicable national regulatory requirements, participate in the carbon emissions trading market or demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility.
The handbook is available for purchase from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.
Future ISO 14080 will help government and industry put together credible, transparent and consistent climate action.
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are identified as the principal cause of climate change and managing them is crucial to help us adapt to its consequences. To address the issue, initiatives are being developed on an international, regional, national and local scale to limit GHG concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere.
A new International Standard under development is intended to give all organizations involved in climate action a framework for the development of consistent, comparable and improved methodologies in the fight against climate change.
ISO 14080, Greenhouse gas management and related activities – Framework and principles for methodologies on climate actions, will provide guidance on how to create effective mitigation and adaptation activities while giving stakeholders enhanced access to financial and other resources needed to combat climate change.
The future standard, which is currently at the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage, provides a generic framework for the development of climate action methodologies and their review and management over time. It specifies principles for designing a framework and guideline to establish methodologies that take into account prevailing climate change policies as well as the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.
ISO 14080 can help non-state actors, initiatives, industry associations and GHG programmes demonstrate that climate action can contribute to a low-carbon society and adaptation strategies with governance.
ISO 14080 will help organizations meet their commitment to the Paris Agreement and global climate action agenda. Publication is expected in 2018.