What to Do About Climate Change – Our Ideas at ECSI

Our approach to climate change is based on assessment of potential business risks to our clients from inaction.  We believe there are actions that our clients can take to improve their competitive position and reduce their carbon footprint.  These actions are good business practices and make sense regardless of which side of the climate change political debate you are on.

A significant portion of a business’s cost is associated with energy use.  Coincidentally, energy use (carbon emissions from combustion of fossil fuels) is one of the most often sited potential causes of climate change.  Our approach is to focus on the dynamic aspects of our clients’ energy use to help them improve performance.  Improving energy performance provides the following benefits:

  • Long term return on investment 
  • Strategic hedge against future energy cost increases 
  • Credibility as a “Greener” Organization 
  •  Strategic positioning for future potential regulatory changes

We see minimal downside risk to business endeavoring to proactively manage their energy use by:

  • Establishing an effective energy management system (EnMS) 
  • Performing energy reviews 
  • Establishing energy baselines 
  •  Identifying key energy performance indications 
  • Developing energy management action plans

ISO 50001 is an International Standard describing the minimal requirements for a continual improvement based EnMS.  As a voting member on the ISO 50001 technical advisory group TC 242 we monitor developments and participate in international consensus building on these important issues and encourage you to learn more about how an EnMS can be good for your business.

Disappointing News from ANAB

In late spring we meet with ANAB at their headquarters in Milwaukee to kick off the process of becoming an ANAB accredited registrar. Our hope was to issue ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 50001 accredited certificates to business in the upper Midwest.  To our surprise during that meeting ANAB made it clear that consultancies are prohibited from accreditation as certification bodies.  In ANABs eyes consultancies and anyone involved in governance of a consultancy is incapable of impartiality when performing ISO certification assessments.

We continue to believe that consultants make good auditors and vice versa.  The financial audit sector (accounts) has operated successfully for many decades using the model to ensure competency of both auditors and consultants.  We believe that ANAB, IAF and ISO’s conclusion that the threats to impartiality by consultancies are irreconcilable is not based in fact.  We also believe that the threats of financial self-interest by ANAB accredited certification bodies are at least as potent as any threat to impartiality from a consultancy performing certification activities.  This is because accredited CBs can (or should) only be allowed to generate revenue from one source, their certification activities.

We remain committed to trying to work with ANAB to find a way to offer ISO certification services in the upper Midwest but for the time being have placed this lower on our priority list of objectives.

Global Warming – Federal Appeals Court Ruling

The following is an excerpt from Heck Associates July 1, 2012 Newsletter.  Werner Heck Associates is long time GHG consultant and auditor we have worked with on GHG V&V Body Accreditation audits.

 A federal appeals court on June 26 upheld a finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that heat-trapping gases from industry and vehicles endanger public health, dealing a decisive blow to companies and states that had sued to block agency rules. A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia declared that the agency was “unambiguously correct” that the Clean Air Act requires the federal government to impose limits once it has determined that emissions are causing harm. The judges unanimously dismissed arguments from industry that the science of global warming was not well supported and that the agency had based its judgment on unreliable studies. “This is how science works,” they wrote. “The E.P.A. is not required to reprove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.” In addition to upholding the E.P.A.’s so-called endangerment finding, the court let stand related rules setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and limiting emissions from stationary sources. Opponents had also challenged the agency’s timetable for enforcement and its rules singling out big polluters, but the court said the plaintiffs lacked the standing to do so.

During the week of June 25, record temperatures and wildfires have scorched the western United States. The National Climate Data Center reports that 41 heat records have been broken or tied since June 24, mostly in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, which is quite unusual for this time of year. Since June 23, a wildfire near Colorado Springs has burned over 18,000 acres, and 34 other large fires are still burning in the country. Scientists taking part in a conference call on June 21 arranged by the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication said that while they could not apportion blame to a specific factor, there was agreement that this week’s events fit into a pattern of extreme weather events and catastrophic fires that climate scientists predict will only worsen in decades to come. “What we’re seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this type of environmental disaster.”

Posted in GHG