Generally, technology forcing standards can be defined as the formulation in legislation, of a requirement to achieve a certain standard of operation within a specified time period.
This can be achieved by using technologies that have not yet been developed for widespread commercial use, but have been shown to be feasible on an experimental basis.
Technology forcing standards are quite important in the field of environmental regulation, they are a necessary nudge in the right direction for the biggest producers of environmentally corrupt substances, and large contributors to human induced climate change.
The automotive and petroleum industries, for instance, were transformed through technology forcing.
The petroleum industry had to develop a technology that would allow them to produce fuel that would work effectively without the environmentally unfriendly lead. The automotive industry was forced into making cars that would run effectively on unleaded fuel, thereby limiting carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The use of technology forcing standards is not a simple feat. Most of the time, coming up with a viable technology may be difficult and expensive, furthermore it may be time consuming, resulting in missed deadlines.
The developing world in particular will not always be a major player where technology forcing is concerned, the prohibitive characteristics of such activity hinder the use of this invaluable and progressive regulatory mechanism. Moreover, the fact that the technologies promoted are not available for wide commercial use also makes them susceptible to criticism.
Currently, the use of maize and sugar cane to manufacture ethanol serves as a good example. These technological advancements have been met with harsh criticism ranging from food security to ethics, raising questions as to their usefulness.
Developed nations should promote the use of technology forcing standards to bring change in environmental protection progression.
When new standards are set and proved viable, it leaves no room for excuses by non-complying countries. In the 1960s and 70s, unleaded fuel was only an experiment in the United States of America. Today, it is the norm. The same will be said for alternative fuel in the future, if we continue pushing our manufacturers through technology forcing standards, to do good for the environment.
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