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Significance and Use
The use of this guide would be directed toward prudent business decision making, communications regarding GHGs emissions/control/reduction conditions, insurance, high-level analysis of potential reductions and/or remedies, budgeting, strategic planning for an entity’s management of GHGs produced in relationship to its business.
Small businesses or enterprises;
Federal, state or municipal facilities and regulators, including departments of health and fire departments;
Financial and insurance institutions;
Waste managers, including liquid and solid waste haulers, treatment, recycling, disposal and transfer;
Consultants, auditors, inspectors and compliance assistance personnel;
Property, buildings and grounds management, including landscaping;
Non-regulatory government agencies, such as the military.
This guide is a first step in crafting simplified management goals for assessing, managing and reducing GHGs. The framework describes a process by which the user may categorize current carbon footprints and a priority approach to manage those risks. The technique classifies common responses for both mitigation and adaptation. The guide groups responses and examples into tiers based on the relative speed in responding to GHG emissions. The tier classifications found in this guide reflect the general structures of state, federal, and local response programs. These authorities generally classify groups of similar responses according to the timely availability and cost effectiveness of GHG responses.
This guide presents basic principles and strategies in the U.S. for conducting baseline assessment and reasonable mitigation/adaptation strategic options on a corporate, or small business voluntary basis. The following principals apply to this priority system:
Ability to set specific GHG goals for activities. These goals may include maintaining existing outputs of GHG while increasing a facility’s operations, or reducing GHG through engineering changes while maintaining current operations.
Marketing environmental awareness and sensitivity;
Assessing risks from future GHG events;
Risk management, underwriting; loss control and history; premiums and claims;
Liability assessment and qualifications for loans;
Standardization, consistency, and certification of facility specific evaluations;
Educating employees, clients, and customers;
Generating multi media and cross medium information;
Evaluating vendors, and
Reducing costs and preventing pollution.
Users may consider various benefits of GHG assessment and response.
This guide is a basic primer on GHG impacts and may serve to introduce the subject for organizations unfamiliar with the principles.
Some government enforcement agencies, fiduciaries and business organizations publish GHG strategies. Over 400 municipalities in the United States, for example, have signed the principles of international standards to address GHGs. The public has systematic ability to access or estimate information on individual businesses. Therefore, businesses need guidance on how to assess the nature and potential risks of GHGs, and a programmatic approach for reducing or eliminating those risks through energy conservation, pollution prevention, alternative and emerging technologies and other proactive management systems.
Note 3—Users may wish to consider establishing data quality objectives, data management procedures, and documentation.
Reduced operation and maintenance costs may be realized through a tiered evaluation of GHG response opportunities.
Responses may be streamlined and simplified so that all levels in an organization may participate.
Some enterprises may be more competitive in the marketplace with improved GHG response programs.
Setting priorities can allow planning and evaluation of new GHG response requirements.
Institutional Risks—Some of the risks posed by GHG include future actions taken by the Federal Government and state government agencies. Government programs will establish responses to GHG that include mandatory assessment, reporting and mitigation for various regulated entities. Early voluntary actions, including the use of this guide, may help organizations prepare for and reduce the impacts of future government regulations. Some of the possible government programs that may be instituted to address GHG are described below.
The Carbon Tax.
Cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
Flexible versus rigid emission cap.
With and without ceilings and floors on GHG allowance prices.
Eligibility of domestic and international offsets for compliance.
Managing Risk Uncertainty:
There is little doubt at the international level that greenhouse gases will continue to be regulated. However, there are still important questions regarding how large and how fast these regulatory changes will be implemented, and what effects they will have in different regions. The ability to predict future global levels of GHGs has improved, but efforts to understand the impacts of GHGs on society and analyze mitigation and adaptation strategies are still relatively immature.
The tiered analysis in this guide will help support decision-making, studying regional impacts, and communicating with wider group of stakeholders in the face of uncertainty.
The insurance industry has always played a role by insuring against weather-related risks, promoting stronger building codes, and better land-use decision-making.
Note 4—Consequently, weather-related impacts are not addressed in this guide.
Many GHG regulatory schemes require documentation and validation of baseline greenhouse gas production. Standard techniques are contained in ISO 14064–1, ISO 14064–2, ISO 14064–3: 2006-03-01, and in ISO 14065.
1.1 Overview—This guide presents a generalized systematic approach to voluntary assessment and management of the causes and impacts of GHGs. It includes actions, both institutional (legal) and engineering (physical) controls for GHG reductions, impacts, and adaptations. Options for a tiered analysis provide a priority ranking system, to address the “worst first” challenges of a facility, addressing practicality and cost-benefit.
1.2 Purpose—The purpose of this guide is to provide a series of options consistent with basic principles and practices for GHG-related action. This guide encourages consistent and comprehensive assessment and management of GHG outcomes from facility and business operations.
1.2.1 The guide also provides some high-level options for the monitoring, tracking and performance to evaluate the effectiveness of the commercial entity’s strategy to ensure that a reasonable approach is taken.
1.2.2 This standard ties into the ASTM Committee E50 standards series related to environmental risk assessment and management.
1.3 Objectives—The objectives of this guide are to determine the conditions of the facility and or/property with regard to the status of GHGs and actions to be taken to manage and reduce or offset those emissions.
1.3.1 The guide provides a three-tiered decision strategy that focuses on business risk, cost-effective solutions in response to greenhouse gases, and related issues such as the need for energy independence.
1.4 Limitations of this Guide—Given the variability of the different types of facilities that may wish to use this guide, and the existence of state and local regulations, it is not possible to address all the relevant standards that might apply to a particular facility. This guide uses generalized language and examples to guide the user. If it is not clear to the user how to apply standards to their specific circumstances, it is recommended that users seek assistance from qualified professionals.
1.4.1 Insurance Industry—The effects of GHG on insurers are not clear. The definition of an insurable occurrence and a commencement point for when insurable claims are made, along with when conditions were discovered and the actionable information leading to an insurable loss is not clear. It may be inappropriate to speculate on GHGs that are highly uncertain for purposes of insurance related to specific events.
1.4.2 This guide does not take a position on the science of climate change, its association with anthropogenic greenhouse gases, or various mathematical models generated by international bodies.
1.4.3 The guide does not address water vapor as a greenhouse gas.
1.4.4 The guide only addresses anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
1.5 The guide uses references and information on the control, management and reduction of GHGs from many cited sources such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ISO, the World Resources Institute, and the National Academy of Sciences.
1.6 Several U.S.-based federal regulatory agencies served as sources of information on existing and anticipated regulation and management of GHGs including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
1.7 This guide relies on current regulatory information about GHGs from various state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board, the Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Environmental Protection, the Western Climate Initiative, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
1.8 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.9 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
E2114 Terminology for Sustainability Relative to the Performance of Buildings
E2432 Guide for General Principles of Sustainability Relative to Buildings
ICS Number Code 13.020.40 (Pollution, pollution control and conservation)
UNSPSC Code 77100000(Environmental management)
ASTM E2725-10, Standard Guide for Basic Assessment and Management of Greenhouse Gases, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2010, www.astm.orgBack to Top