Most people probably do not pay much attention to international bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). After all, setting global technical standards may seem like dull and esoteric work. But these standards can have big consequences.Last week the ISO announced a process that could significantly shape the future of the climate — but only if the proposal avoids undue influence by polluters. Here’s how it might happen.
Why technical standards matter
ISO’s 24,000 technical standards cover issues as varied as food safety,information technology and carbon accounting. The rules are made by hundreds of expert committees representing national standard-setting bodies and are adopted directly by companies and industry associations. ISO rules are voluntary — but national regulations, corporate contracts and trade agreements often include these standards, giving these rules real teeth.