The Changing Climate of Standards

July 25th, 2017

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is seriously serious about the environment.  Seriously.  In fact, they’ve proudly announced their intention to insert climate change things and stuff into their standards. 

Whether things or stuff, the stuffing of things into stuff not related to the stuff their things are supposed to deal with is, shall we say, a bit suspect.

“These projects,” said CSA, “aim to mitigate infrastructure vulnerabilities caused by extreme weather events to help keep Canadians safer.”  Given CSA’s propensity to propagandize meaninglessly, and their longstanding record of inflating costs, milking clients, faking results, and generalized scumbucketry, we think CSA’s much more interested in padding their standards for revenue purposes. 

Hogwash, says CSA.  “Incorporating climate change considerations into standards will help guide how infrastructure is designed and built to withstand more frequent and severe weather events.”

One of their climate change “projects” features “climate change adaptation solutions” within the Canadian Electrical Code.  The Electrical Code is the body of electrical law in Canada.  It governs things like the distance between a sink and a plug outlet, or how many outlets you can have on a circuit -that sort of thing.

Alright, lets walk with this.  Let’s say that climate change will, or has already, increased the frequency and intensity of, say, hurricanes.  If, in the name of climate change, CSA alters the distance between a sink and a plug outlet, how do you suppose that mitigates the affects of a hurricane?  Or how about plug outlets on a circuit.  Let’s say CSA reduces the number to a single plug outlet per circuit.  How would that alter the atmosphere?  Or instead if they increased the number to, say, 400 outlets on a circuit (arguably inadvisable for a host of other reasons), would that make the world boil?  Or freeze?  Or would CSA’s changes have no affect on climate safety whatsoever?

Yet we are informed that “this important and timely effort” is indeed a “strong and meaningful contribution” to “ensure the safety and well-being of Canadians.”

Hogwash.

We recently reported that CSA’s standards are largely unchanged from cycle to cycle.  In the aforementioned electrical laws for instance, the actual new text in each update to that law averages a mere two percent.  With ninety-eight percent carry-over from the previous text, why would electricians bother buying the Code from CSA every single cycle? 

Well, CSA knows this is a vulnerability to their revenue.  If they could increase the percentage of new text in each standard, there would be more need to buy them.  Of course, the text in question is law, being Federal and provincial legislation, so in this case they’d be altering the law in order to pad their wallets.  A whole bunch of bumf about climate change would be a lot of text, sufficiently vague and meaningless for insertion into a wide range of unrelated standards, such as those the CSA’s been bragging about. 

As for “extreme weather events” like hurricanes, the evidence doesn’t give CSA even a veneer of credibility either.  And it’s not an ideological issue.  No matter what you may believe on the issue of climate change, the historical record of extreme weather, in this case hurricanes, shows a decrease in prevalence, not an increase.  The last four decades show the fewest number of hurricanes of any forty year period since the 1800’s.

That’s not a cause for standard panic, rewiring your house, or shifting your plug outlets.  That’s nothing, actually.  But nothing doesn’t sell.

So CSA’s found an excuse to pad their standards and milk the masses once again.  All that new text, all those new regulations, all the coerced customers convinced that they need them, and all the powers that go with these new regulations in inspection, certification, etc. -that’s a bureaucratic goldmine

Actually, it’s a shakedown on steroids, just waiting in the wings.