Climate change and technology: Pre-standard prepared

Already today, the planning of infrastructure and the development of technological systems has to consider the impacts of climate change. ITAS was involved in the development of a pre-standard which now provides orientation.
In the future, highways will have to withstand extreme weather conditions due to climate change (Picture: Martin Gommel / flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Climate change is one of humanity’s biggest challenges. Despite the various efforts to reduce its anthropogenic causes, it will aggravate in the next decades. This will have severe impacts on technological systems and infrastructures: The asphalt surfaces of highways will have to withstand heatwaves, sewer systems will have to cope with more heavy rainfall, and air conditioning systems will have to deal with higher outdoor temperatures.

In order to account for these new product and process requirements, ITAS member Volker Stelzer and a research group of the German Institute for Standardization (Deutsches Institut für Normung – DIN) now prepared a pre-standard (SPEC). Even though, according to Stelzer, the predicted impacts of climate change will only become increasingly obvious and recognizable from the middle of this century, the impression that there is still sufficient time for an adaptation is wrong. "Planning horizons for investments of industrial goods are quite often more than 30 years", explains the sustainability expert.

Therefore the pre-standard provides an orientation to deal already today with uncertainties in projections on climate change and its impacts. Principal addressees are national and international standardization bodies. They can use this pre-standard as a basis in future processes to take better account of the adaption to the impacts of climate change.

DIN SPEC 35220:2015-11 was published in November 2015. It can be obtained under the title "Adaption to climate change – Projections on climate change and ways for handling uncertainties" from Beuth Verlag. (10.03.2016)

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