Consciously Coming to Copenhagen

windeurope-copenhagen-2019

I told myself that if I won the raffle for Wind Europe 2019 I’ll come to Copenhagen and just spend part of my holiday trip there.

As of 31 October 2019, I won.  Wow, already booked my flight to Copenhagen via SAS on the 26th from Paris, will be a bit late, though. I will also be late on the 25th since I just flew in from Taipei on that morning.

I had to make major itinerary changes.  Luckily, it was also Paris Climate Finance Week and I have to attend to two (2) events on the 25th and the 29th.  However, this is part of my birthday week and celebration weekend. Crazy mix of business and pleasure. I am now only left with visiting Paris with just 2.5 days from November 30 and December 1. Will be flying back on December 2.  Huh! Maybe I should not come to the Climate Finance Day Event and just spend the day sightseeing. 

After the Air Conditioning Transition proposal for the NAMA Facility I feel  a strong urge to make changes, to work on renewable energy and more work on the energy transition or as the Germans say Energiewende and of course on climate finance.  I have no background on finance per se but I do have a strong background on GHG verification and ensuring the integrity of a ton of CO2eq mitigated.

Been listening to K-pop lately (long shot…), the last time I went to South Korea was on April 2014 for Myda’s birthday and as a side trip, I went to Songdo in Incheon to look for employment opportunities in the Green Climate Fund or GCF.  I never really fully understood the purpose of the GCF until I worked for GIZ which has been very keen on getting a GCF project.  The process was extremely similar to the call for proposals of the NAMA Facility funded by the German Environment Ministry and the British Ministry of Trade.  I am not sure if I had written about it in detail but we did participate on the 6th Call of the NAMA Facility which was an intense whirlwind I had this year.

It was crazy,  beating deadlines and soliciting commitments from our project partners. I don’t know if we could make it again, it takes a lot of integrity on our part, to prove ourselves beyond our idealistic principles of natural refrigerants in terms of coefficient of performance, safety and of course conformity assessment to international standards.  Sometimes though I feel like I don’t belong to this global program.  I love what I do but somebody at the North Sea seemed to be calling me. OK let’s go to Copenhagen, just try. We’ll see.

 

 

Eureka Moment while in a Toxic Daze

Its Good Friday and in my free time, I was curious enough to read a copy of Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology.  Me, reading a medical, pharmacological book (purposively bad grammar)? Because it will soon be a requirement next semester when I take up Industrial Toxicology. I am even thinking twice about taking the course due to the expected workload in C4 because like Epidemiology 201, it will take significant amount of effort to reach a marginal grade. As much as possible, I would like to approach the upcoming challenge with some degree of preparation and take a mindset of hands-on application and experience which I have gained over some years of audit experience and of course the current task on working for C4.  It is just a matter of managing your time and the response of your brain to the load of information yet to come.

It is hard not put advocacy in the picture but things have become way too deep beyond the usual scope of climate policy, which I also think is too broad.  Toxicology is similarly a very broad science and will require a certain level of specialization, and I think such specialization will also be required in working on climate change.  I am very thankful that I am given an opportunity to use  chemical management in climate policy while working in C4, I tried to make that connection as early as possible, linking RA6969, the Philippine counterpart to the US EPA Superfund to a possible legal basis for a local F-gas control policy. Having some toxicology background may be of help in assisting the DENR in a future regulation through a chemical control order.

There is also a greater understanding that people generally value health impacts more than environmental impacts. It will take a while before impacts to the climate may be felt while losing a love one due to a toxic response is far more painful and can provide more value and importance.  Safety is not only about flammability,  but toxicity from acute to chronic may be of far more importance.

 

 

How do you know if industry is ready?

Reposting this video from UNIDO, not really working for UNIDO at the moment but working on a project related to the Kigali Amendments of the Montreal Protocol. Ozone depletion has been one of the most complicated international agreement next to the climate change agreements. But the Montreal Protocol would always remind everyone that it is one of the most successful international environmental agreements ever…

In studying environmental economics…oh my God 20 years ago, we would match the city in which the global agreement was signed with the corresponding environmental requirement:

Montreal —> Ozone Depleting Substances

Stockhom—> ?

Rotterdam—>

Basel—>

Cartagena —>

Who cares?

The importance of equipment nameplates in enhancing transparency in climate reporting

Nordfrost_TW-81

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.

I didn’t learn politics from school

This is the best time to write about Gina Lopez. She has been my favorite subject matter for a few years now ever since that fateful first impression at the Development Academy of the Philippines seven years ago.  “What is DAP?” she haughtily asked, that bravado kind of turned us off,  given her limited knowledge of those working for a government think thank.  How come she doesn’t know what we do, what is our purpose and mandate. I think that meeting was merely using the facilities of DAP. We were looking for funding and we were thinking she would be a good benefactor for sustainable development projects and policies.

I have no idea what was the outcome of that meeting but fast forward to 2017, we meet again at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  I’m writing this at my temporary space at the DENR compound a few days after her rejection by the commission of appointments as DENR Secretary.

Her leadership approach was totally unconventional but at the end of it all what can we learn from it?  I have encountered people from the entire spectrum of for and against her, I don’t want to comment on that, I respect their stance.  The last blog I wrote on her was the fact that people compare me to her given my educational background in environmental science. I remember my early years in UPLB when former classmates perceive our presence in the university as merely farming, similar to that, environmentalists are like Gina Lopez, which is totally stereotypical.

How about people who have worked all of their lives at the DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau, are they environmentalists, or are just government employees working for the environment. The public will judge not only Gina, but the DENR itself, but after her 10-month stints, some thing will totally change  drastically.

Cool Greenwashing

lg-g3-380
Which planet are you trying to save? I believe we only have one earth.

My last post in my other blog Fast Food Greenwash was posted last October 7, 2012.  I haven’t seemed to access that blog for a quite a while since I haven’t had any work related to the fast food industry or they say “quick-serve restaurant” for quite a while.  Thankfully, I only eat fast food during emergency like when stuck in Metro Manila traffic and starving as hell  in my 3-hour commute.

2009 was a long time ago when I started blogging about Greenwashing and now that its 2007, things are getting worse and worse. Given the age of climate change mitigation actions, and the complicated rules of calculating GHG emissions, companies are playing around with  the carbon footprint and stamping it in their products and marketing materials. Anyway, I will write something about it separately.

In 2016, I had the opportunity to work for a GIZ  project on Green Cooling. The programme has been around for quite a while, since the enforcement of the Montreal Protocol on the control of substances that deplete the Ozone Layer more than two decades ago. Honestly, I have to admit, prior to this engagement, I have not connected Ozone Depletion with Climate Change even if  I have claimed expertise in environmental management.

ODS have always been treated independently from GHGs.  A “True or False”  question in my GHG verification course in 2011 even asked if Ozone Depletion causes Climate Change, of course the answer was false. Simply, Ozone Depletion is caused by Ultraviolet Radiation entering the atmosphere while Climate Change is caused by the trapping of heat from Infrared Radiation.  Who cares about UV and IR Radiation when all we see is White Light? What is true considering human activities was that prior solutions to ozone depletion have contributed to increased greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a truly complicated concept that has led to well… Greenwashing, particularly in refrigeration and air conditioning. Ok sell us the fridge and A/C, just get that “Eco-Friendly” sticker off.

Honestly, when I buy an A/C, I consider the price.  I don’t really look at the nameplate. But if you really want to be “ecofriendly” look at the nameplate. Why? Because that’s where you will find the rated capacity in terms of energy consumption and the refrigerant type.  Looking at the nameplate is not equivalent to looking at the bright and colorful stickers manufacturers place that are colorful and bright. Your attention is directed upon their “Greenwashing”.

The fact is, the Montreal Protocol has set the cap for ODS refrigerants and parties are directed to replace it with ODS alternatives….and these ODS alternatives are  high GWP GHGs….why did this happen?  Because, Ozone Depletion have always been treated independent of Climate Change?  except in 2016 when the Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol was agreed upon.

Below are four nameplates of various cooling appliances, can you guess which one is the most eco-friendly?