Category Archives: Environmental Impact Assessment

The importance of equipment nameplates in enhancing transparency in climate reporting

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I am excited to host my first technical committee meeting on IEC 60335-2-40. It is in technical committees such as these where the initial steps for manufacturers are made before finally casting  into steel the claims for their equipment. Often these claims contains information on the greenhouse gas emissions from the equipment during operations based on test and performance validation results.

I  guess I have issued over a hundred audit findings related to equipment nameplates. Nonconformities ranging from content mismatch with environmental permits to physical damage to the nameplate during routine maintenance (painting, etching or losing its entirety).

With climate change as a pressing issue of global importance, I believe that its also high time for us to give a high regard for equipment nameplates. Who reads nameplates anyway?

GHG verifiers are trained to read equipment nameplates with an assumption that the nameplate rating is the best record of measure of the performance of the equipment. However, nameplate ratings are still estimates based on the accuracy and precision of the performance validation tests and a certain degree of uncertainty is still involved in the nameplate rating. Moreover, a weak test validation system can allow manufacturers to make false claims, to the point of permanently etching it on the nameplate, but global good practice and intense conformity assessments make this practice outright dishonesty.

Every now and then, I would randomly look into appliance nameplates more than the other marks such as marketing stickers or even regulatory labels. Nameplates are a good ballpark estimate of the carbon footprint of the equipment.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Random

Its not always what it CEMS.

20170308_075211What could be the objective of this coal-fired power plant for publishing its weekly air emission data in a nationally circulated newspaper? I find it quite strange and they even have to put it on the front page which calls for much public attention.  Given the nice green graphics, of course they do want to gain positive feedback about their emissions profile.

However, being the outlier in the population, with training and education on these matters, the first reaction from me is of course….”greenwashing”. In the first place, there is nothing exemplary or extraordinary about these air emission data.  It is very likely that the other coal fired power plants within the vicinity such as the ones in Zambales or Pangasinan have the same emissions profile and they also monitor their emissions daily through an integrated measurement and monitoring device known as the Continuous Emission Monitoring System or CEMS.

The CEMS is a mandatory legal requirement as specified in the rules and regulations under Republic Act 8749 or the Clean Air Act of the Philippines. How come the Bataan plant has to publish an inforgraphic about its own emission? How come the other coal fired power plants don’t?  Maybe the other coal fired power plants are not insecure or they don’t have the public relations team that were previously employed in a beer company.

After the Clean Air Act was enacted more than 17 years ago, thermal power plants have come a long way. I have seen the CEMS profile of natural gas plants and its way better than these figures. Prior to the entry of coal, almost two thirds of the power supplied in the Luzon Grid was natural gas, but with the trend towards coal plants that are “cheap and dirty “to operate.

Remember in school when we would show our fingernails to the teachers to check whether the fingernails are clean and trimmed? To a certain degree, showing your emissions data is just like showing the tips of your fingers. You could not see how clean and efficient your entire body is by the tips of your fingers.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Sustainability

Hot Oil Treatment

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I think I just got duped from buying argan oil online.  The product was obviously a fake because it was not absorbed by OCM cleansed skin the first time I tried it. God bless OCM!  It seems the product I bought was mixed with sunflower oil as carrier oil because doing the same with my  current HHN sunflower oil on hand, the effect was essentially the same, the rate of absorption was the same, the HHN sunflower oil was even absorbed faster when I swatched it together.  I should have known better but it was really difficult to detect if it was bought online, what a waste of money. I was even planning to make it as a gift. It is true, you can not get good, authentic argan oil at such an incredibly low price.

Beware of Diluted Argan Oil-Best Quality Argan Oil is Organic and Cold Pressed.

Talking about oils, I just got back from San Francisco, Agusan del Norte this morning via Butuan. My last encounter with that town was my first EIA assignment for Jollibee Foods Corporation in 2008 when I prepared the Initial Environmental Examination of Jollibee San Francisco.  I haven’t had the time to visit that store located at the town proper similar to what I did with  Jollibee Buhangin Davao, I do feel a bit awkward dropping by and saying hi or hello to the  store managers and checking their current environmental compliance status and asking for difficulties communicating with the corporate office. That was my job five years ago, my job right now is for an ISO audit.

From Butuan City, we went straight ahead to one of the only Palm Oil Plantations here in the Philippines.  Inside it was a Palm Oil Refinery and the palm olein we use in our kitchen is heat processed.  I just read about cosmetic grade oils and food grade oils that we are supposed to eat. Heat processing kills microorganisms that might affect the food supply but it also reduces the cosmetic efficacy of most oils we use.  Palm oil may be good at deep frying food stuff but it is highly not recommended as oil for OCM.

Though I was duped for buying argan oil online, I am now one of the people who swear by the fact that OCM did work for me after a month. One or two pimple broke out in my nose and my sideburns but generally my skin had somewhat improved.  My OCM mixture is not exact. I transferred the castor oil in a 100 ml pump bottle, I would make two small pumps of castor oil and two pumps of HHN sunflower cleansing oil which was more generous in amount and use it as my cleanser every evening.  After the steaming and wiping with a hot washcloth I still use my TFS E’thym Moisture Lotion as moisturizer.   I am still stuck with my conventional moisturizer, I am currently testing rosehip oil and argan oil in place of it but I was duped from buying online.

This is actually not a beauty blog, I am not a beauty blogger who test products and make reviews but at this point I am trying to make this post light and selfie…it seems I am onto acronyms. OCM for Oil Cleansing Method, HHN for Human Heart Nature and TFS for the The Face Shop all related to beauty and skincare.

I want to mention something about RSPO or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.   RSPO is a council of palm oil producing countries, companies and stakeholders based in Malaysia to ensure that palm oil that is sold in the market did not cause forest degradation, habitat loss or caused suffering to local communities. The organization is currently being attacked for its failure to prevent farmers or growers in Sumatra to convert more land into palm oil plantations and eventually caused another Southeast Asian Haze.

If there is a global RSPO organization, there is a CARP here in the Philippines or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.  Many lands are idle in Mindanao, not forest lands but alienable and disposable lands with certificate of titles that are unproductive.  Can a smallholder palm plantation work for these types of land?   http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/323541/news/regions/tanker-loaded-with-palm-oil-runs-aground-off-palawan We’ve got a big demand for food grade palm oil based on the importation and smuggling that is currently happening.

Another acronym is PDAF or Priority Development Assessment Fund which is the hottest of all the acronyms  I mentioned…to note this is not a political blog.  Oils are either heat processed or cold pressed.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Fast Food Greenwash, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Climate Change Adapting

Climate Change Adapting

 

Walking home after an appointment was cancelled.  Please, don’t let us believe that this is God’s Wrath for corruption, this is just another impact of rising sea levels.  Climate change is already here, we just need to adapt to it.

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August 20, 2013 · 12:25 pm

The Pig is Getting Big

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I guess this opensource pig was the source of that pig  which won the logo design contest when I was still spending my time with the Philippine Methane Initiative. I haven’t had any connection with my former colleagues but one thing’s for sure, pig waste and manure management have always had a big potential towards emission reduction projects that can be sold in the carbon markets.

For this year, I have experienced very minimal opportunities of dipping into the carbon markets, though I have planned a great snow dive a few years back, there just seems to be no big ocean to dive on. It forces me to become cautious because I might get injured if I dived into shallow waters, especially if that guy on that cubicle is making the pool  more crowded. No bones being broken please! I do miss emission reduction project developments. Though my prior experience was limited to capacity building on making technical people understand what the carbon markets was all about, it was one heck of a great fun! I really do miss this pig quite a while.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ecotourism, Environmental Impact Assessment, Fast Food Greenwash, GHG Mitigation Effort, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Shallow thoughts and strong principles

During my early years in implementing EMS, most people in the organization have started out programmes such as making a song about the environment, poster making contests or tree-hugging events in lieu of tree plantings. In a less mature organization, these programs are acceptable, since environmental performance targets are still in the baseline data gathering stage, but if such programs still exists after 10 years yet building system chillers are rotting away eating up so much energy during normal operational conditions, then the organization has remained in a position of shallow thoughts rather than of strong principles.

The way people have thought about me have also ranged from shallow thoughts to strong principles, I know some people have a tendency to assume and judge, maximizing their inductive reasoning or people I have known for years putting me in a pedestal.  Maybe now, I had hoped to have people around to share the same principles of having developed specific performance targets and long term continual improvement goals and could at least do away with poster-making, songwriting or tree-hugging for the sake of greenwashing.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Sustainability

Aerial Spraying Operations

Aerial Spraying Operations

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January 18, 2013 · 6:54 am