How tracking climate conditions can help create jobs, more

A dividing question at the recent United Nations Climate Summit concerns how much money rich countries, which emit the most greenhouse gases, should pay poorer countries to prepare for worsening climate change. effects of climatic disasters.

Problems like this revolve around measurements and definitions.

How much of recent flooding in Pakistan, for example, was due to carbon levels above 350 parts per million in the atmosphere? Should the definition of “developing countries” change so that China and India are no longer excluded from financing a loss and damage fund demanded by the Association of Small Island States to cope with the waves of tide and possible sea level rise?

These differences, aired at COP 27 or the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – which was due to end on Friday but were extended to Saturday to continue negotiations – reveal the difficulty current efforts to formulate solutions. .

On the other hand, the definition of objectives was easier.

Most notably, at COP 21 in 2015, representatives from 197 countries reached consensus on the Paris Agreement, a commitment to keep global warming below certain metrics. But nations are now struggling to agree on a wide range of new definitions and measures in the proposals made to achieve the goals.

Meanwhile, companies and government agencies fighting climate change have created many jobs and programs to define and measure their own environmental impact.

Anyone who wants to interview for one of these jobs, compete for grants to fund the implementation of climate change initiatives, or keep up with the news related to climate efforts would do well to learn the terms and metrics becoming current references.

Many speaking this new language of environmental initiatives don’t even stop to translate.

For example, Patagonia, the Ventura-based outdoor apparel company with annual revenue of $1 billion, posted a job posting this month for an “outdoor apparel specialist.” environmental impact”. The company, which recently changed its ownership structure so that “Earth is our sole shareholder”, begins with relatively familiar jargon in the job description, noting that the specialist would support “the company-wide GHG inventory company and the ESG reporting process”.

No definition is offered, but GHG is widely understood to mean greenhouse gas. ESG, on the other hand, refers to a company’s “environmental, social and governance” standards.

However, the terms become more complex. The selected candidate would contribute to “ongoing supply chain decarbonization efforts” while using technical skills to help “implement and scale Patagonia’s Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) tool” and participate in ” cross-functional supplier integration”. Another key involves the company’s “LCA process”, an indefinite reference to “life cycle analysis” or measuring the impact of materials used throughout the process, from acquisition to manufacturing. , retail and disposal.

Similarly, state agencies in Ventura County are hiring employees to help meet state mandates to reduce organic waste in landfills by 75% and recover food for human consumption by 20%, both by 2025.

CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency, will enforce mandates based on legislative requirements to reduce so-called SLCPs, or short-lived climate pollutants. SLCPs are gases, such as methane emitted from decaying waste in landfills, that are much more powerful than carbon in trapping heat in the atmosphere and that work for a shorter time.

Locally, positions with tenure-related functions have been popping up on job boards: the city of Oxnard recently closed an application period, while Ventura County hopes to recruit soon.

The academic sphere also harbors opportunities related to the measurement and monitoring of the newly named factors of climate change. Last month, UC Davis launched the Center for Agricultural Innovation, starting with a $50 million gift from Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of The Wonderful Co. The center aims to fight climate change by “developing breakthrough technologies and solutions to reduce our collective carbon footprint”. and creating a more sustainable agricultural system,” according to a recent update emailed to alumni.

New terms and measures are key to understanding and combating climate change. “Name it to tame it” was a slogan coined by Dr. Dan Siegel for anxiety control, and “measure to manage” was a concept promoted by W. Edwards Deming, the originator of Quality Methods and Six Sigma effectiveness, which advocated to also manage the not yet measurable elements.

The private, public and academic sectors are now using these concepts to join the global effort punctuated each year by the United Nations climate summits.

David Goldstein, environmental resources analyst with the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected]

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