Paris Climate Agreement: A Turning Point on Climate Change

Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet Today

There is now little doubt that climate change is happening. It is seen as the biggest potential threat and environmental challenge of the 21st Century and it affects us all. The group of 1300 independent scientific experts from around the world concludes that there is more than 90% probability that greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, produced by human activity, have caused much of the observed escalation in Earth’s temperatures over the past 50 years. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate carrying out global warming research have recently predicted that average global temperatures could increase between 1.4 and 5.8 °C by the year 2100.

Adoption of Paris Climate Agreement to Roll Back Global Warming

The world needs “a global deal for climate” that keeps the rise of the global average temperature below 2°C.  At Annual Conference of Parties (COP21) held in Paris last December 7th and 8th of 2015, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) resolved to achieve for the first time, in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a legally binding universal agreement on climate from all nations of the world.

The Paris Agreement is intended to signal the beginning of the end of more than 100 years of fossil fuels serving as the prime engine of economic development and shows the governments from around the world take climate change seriously. The inclusion of both developed and developing countries, including those that depend on revenue from oil and gas production, demonstrate a unity never seen before on this issue.

The purpose is to hold global warming to below 2 °C degrees over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and to strive for 1.5 °C if possible. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries reached the world’s most significant agreement to address climate change since the issue first emerged as a major political priority decades ago.

Paris Climate Agreement Key Elements

The Role of Business and Industry in COP21

Business has to play a part in the ongoing shift towards a carbon-clean global economic system.  Some companies have already started to do so, either by changing their global strategy, investing in carbon-free energies or through innovations.

Paris Agreement encouraged businesses to commit and to publicly announce actions aiming at reducing emission, overall. Commitments can, for instance, take the form of:

Individual mitigation targets:

  • GHG emission reduction
  • GHG emission reduction in line with the 2°C objective
  • Carbon neutrality
  • Improved energy efficiency target

Targets related to specific themes:

  • Increased produced renewable energy (low‐carbon energy)
  • Increase consumed renewable energy
  • Reduced deforestation
  • Reduced emission from own property/buildings
  • Reduced emission from own fleet
  • Material use reduction
  • Increase the share of recycling

Finance/Investors targets:

  • Carbon accounting implementation
  • Carbon/climate risks assessments & stress testing generalization
  • Green bounds development
  • Portfolio decarbonization

Resilience/adaptation targets:

  • Funding into public and open scientific risk modelling facilities
  • Efforts to adjust business models to minimize vulnerabilities and risks to climate hazards

After COP21: What Needs to Happen for the Paris Agreement to Take Effect?

What occurred on December 2015 at COP21 was the “adoption” of the Paris Agreement by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries still need to take steps so that it takes effect.

timeline

Countries must now actually join the Paris Agreement and become Parties to it.  To do this, each country must now sign and indicate their consent to be bound by the Agreement. On April 22, 2016, all Heads of State can sign the Agreement at a high-level signing ceremony at the United Nations in New York.  The Agreement will then be open for signature for one year, until April 21, 2017. After the one-year signing period, the Agreement will be open for what is called “accession” – a country becomes a Party to an international agreement that other countries have already signed.

PARIS-03

Only after at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC representing at least 55 percent of total global greenhouse gases sign on and indicate their consent to be bound will the Agreement “enter into force” and will come into effect and be legally binding.

 Pushing Forward

Our world is getting hotter, and we can see the evidence in loss of ice sea, accelerated sea level rises, warming oceans, more intense heat waves, and an increase in extreme events such as wildfires, drought, tropical storms and floods. The impact of global warming and climate change is already being felt across the planet.

Paris Agreement represents a huge leap forward in terms of reducing the effect of global warming. Taking the action needed to bring this deal into force is an essential next step for countries to build on the momentum from COP21. If they do so quickly, countries can ensure that the critically important provisions and requirements of the Paris Agreement are fully put into motion.

References

http://www.iso.org/iso/isofocus_114.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/future/index_en.htm

http://time.com/4146764/paris-agreement-climate-cop-21/

http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/01/after-cop21-what-needs-happen-paris-agreement-take-effect

http://climateaction.unfccc.int/assets/downloads/LPAA_-_Private_sector_engagement.pdf

 

Energy Efficiency Standards Ensures Savings for Green Buildings

Rising energy consumption has always been a cause of concern for the Malaysian government in the last few years. The appearances of green building constructions and developments confirm the need for more environmentally friendly buildings in the country – especially to conserve the high usage of energy and electricity in buildings for a modern country such as Malaysia.

In a previous report by the Energy Commission of Malaysia, the country has steadily increased its electricity usage by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9% from 2005 – 2009. It is even more alarming to note that 78% of the electricity consumed was by Industrial and Commercial sectors for infrastructure operations in 2009.

Why Green Building in Malaysia?

One of the biggest advantages of constructing green buildings is the cost-saving benefits both in the short and longer term. Utilisation of recycled materials to construct the building immediately lowers your short term cost whilst putting in place longer term solution such as energy saving devices helps lower the longer term cost impact of building maintenance and repairs.

On top of the obvious cost-savings benefits, many construction and developers firm are also constructing greener; more sustainable building simply because of the market’s higher valuation on such properties. Both residential and commercial properties stand to gain a higher resale value since buyers are aware that maintenance cost in the longer term will be lower than non-sustainable developments.

The government’s incentive also proves to be effective in driving the development of green buildings in Malaysia. In 2009, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water published a guidebook on various incentives for developers and encouraging the industry to obtain Green Building Index (GBI) certification. Attractive incentives includes 100% tax exemption on any GBI qualifying expenses (QE) until 2014 and also stamp duty exemption for purchases incurred on such accredited GBI properties in Malaysia.

Realizing the cost savings potential of green buildings, many property developers in Malaysia are actively turning green to join the race. Corporation such as Teliti International has plans to build a 120,000 sq ft green datacentre whilst Faber Group Berhad will spearhead a pilot project to conduct energy audit at five local government hospitals in Malaysia for efficient energy usage.

Whilst qualifying for tax and stamp duty exemption may be a credible reason for adopting GBI; there are other longer term solutions for building cost management. Even if the organisation does not plan on adopting GBI, there are alternatives for cost reduction such as adopting a good energy management system that can help the organisation lower its overall long term maintenance and energy cost.

 

Developed by BSI, the BS EN 16001 Energy Management System (EnMS) standard has provided many organisations with the necessary framework to manage, monitor and react to its own energy consumption patterns. It allows management to plan for the reduction of energy usage thus saving costs from daily building maintenance and operations. The framework also helps to boost productivity of staff members by identifying critical points of energy wastage and affecting behavioural changes to effectively reduce energy consumption in the organisation.

SAVING Cost with a Good Energy Management System

However, the real value of the BS EN 16001 EnMS standard is not only in the implementation of the framework but rather on the certification to the standard. Certifying against BS EN 16001 EnMS induces
critical self-assessment upon the organisation management through periodic auditing to constantly evaluate and monitor the energy consumption of the organisation. BSI Group auditors are qualified to  organise annual audit sessions to ensure that the organisation is not merely complying to a minimum standard for energy reduction but pushing beyond to save more by being efficient with their energy consumption through a formal ‘plan, do, act and check’ cycle.

The recent launch of a new energy management standard by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) also provides organisations with a further option. Experts from the BSI Group were actively involved in the formulation of the ISO 50001 Energy Management System standard which is planned to supersede the BS EN 16001 EnMS by 2012 as the international standard for energy management.

While green-friendly devices can help reduce energy wastage and unnecessary consumption; it is often people and entrenched practices that prevent optimal energy usage. After all, a green building is only just another building if not for those whom chooses to go green in their everyday practice. BSI Group’s BS EN 16001 EnMS and the recently launched ISO 50001 EnMS standards offer a formalised energy policy management framework to help ensure that green buildings are not only built green but continue to be operated in an environmentally friendly manner.

This article is republished with permission from our Knowledge Partner, BSI.

Energy Efficiency – Best Practices and Frameworks

Energy Efficiency (EE) encompasses all changes that result in a reduction in the energy used for a given energy service (heating, lighting…) or level of activity. This reduction in the energy consumption is not necessarily associated to technical changes, since it can also result from a better organization and management or improved economic efficiency in the sector (e.g. overall gains of productivity).

According to estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA), world energy demand will increase by 45% between now and 2030 unless remedial actions are taken. Globally, energy is consumed by the following sectors: Industrial, Transportation, Residential and commercial. Industry accounts for one third of all the energy used globally and for almost 40% of global CO2 emissions. Industries have to take necessary steps immediately to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to climate change initiatives of the global community. Policies are needed to assist industry in decoupling energy consumption from output by improving energy efficiency and moving to “best practice” technologies.

All international agencies such as UNEP, EU, IFC, ADB etc have initiated several projects across the globe related to energy efficiency of industrial sector. There have been several frameworks and standards published on the topic of energy efficiency and the most popular ones are:

  1. ANSI/MSE Management System Framework
  2. UNEP Cleaner Production – Energy Efficiency Framework
  3. EnergyMAP
  4. BS EN 16001
  5. ISO 50001

All of the above frameworks follow the management system approach and the latest one is the ISO 50001 standards released in June 2011. ISO 50001:2011 specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption.

Improved energy efficiency can help companies to: Reduce energy and production costs, Improve environmental performance and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Reduce exposure to rising energy prices and energy shortages and Win new customers who consider environment as important selection criteria.

Most importantly, energy efficiency does not only benefit companies but also helps the nations to reduce energy imports, conserve limited natural resources and achieve energy security and contributes to a sustainable environment

– Sath Sathappan, Director, Asia Society for Social Improvements & Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST)

Sources: http://www.ansi.org,  www.energyefficiencyasia.org, World Energy council, International Energy Agency, http://www.iso.org

First ever Energy Management Standard Released by ISO

Energy consumption has become a major issue for most of the industrial sectors & they are looking forward to efficient energy consumption methodologies. Recognizing this, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) introduced the most comprehensive energy management standard – ISO 50001- ‘International Standard for Energy Management’.

Energy management systems will now have an internationally accepted implementation standard for different sectors of organizations, independent of its size or services, sectors as well as its geographic locations. The standard has been designed by experts from the national standards bodies of 44 ISO member countries participated within ISO/PC 242 in the development of ISO 50001, with another 14 countries as observers.ISO 50001 will help the industries in efficient energy consumption and reducing the cost of their electricity consumption. (http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_50001_energy.pdf)

This new standard shall be based on the management system model which will be in line with previous standards like ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management), ISO 22000 (food safety), ISO/IEC 27001 (information security).In particular, ISO 50001 follows the Plan-Do-Check-Act process for continual improvement of the energy management system. The idea behind this standard is being able to promote energy management best practices and reinforce good energy management behaviors. Some of the key benefits organizations would get by implementing this standard would be –

  • Making better use of their existing energy assets
  • Evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies
  • Provide a framework for promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain
  • Facilitate energy management improvements for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects

ECCI, is the leading process improvement solutions provider in Southeast Asia, focused on process consulting, automation solutions, and learning outsourcing services. We have worked on implementing the EN 16000 Energy management standard & is one of the first in organizing a sneak peek and awareness session on ISO 50001 standard in Philippines on July 4 2011 at New World Hotel, Makati City.

APEX Global launches Sustainability Series

Corporate Sustainability is imperative for business survival — let alone market leadership. Organizations are experiencingpressures to be more accountable, transparent, socially responsible and more eco-friendly. In addition to generating profits, there is also significant focus being directed at protecting people and the planet.

In its efforts to help organizations reach greater heights, APEX Global launched the “Sustainability Series”— trainings on competencies and implementation infocus areas that include Sustainability Reporting, Energy Efficiency, Corporate Social Responsibility and Climate Change.

The following workshops will be held at the New World Hotel, Makati City:

  • Sustainability Reporting Practitioner
  • Certified Sustainability Assurance Practitioner
  • Carbon Neutrality
  • Energy Efficiency Excellence (ISO 50000)

For more information, please contact +6324038668 or email training@eccigroup.com