An independent assessment of a company’s reported greenhouse gas inventory (carbon footprint) to check that it properly reflects the greenhouse gas accounting and reporting standards, and is accurate in its calculations. Verification is the act of proving or disproving.
A 2% tax that is applied to a carbon credit created from a Clean Development Mechanism project. This tax money is used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to help vulnerable developing countries to meet the cost of adapting to climate change.
Additionality (or additional)
The extent to which an emissions reduction project actually reduces emissions compared to a business-as-usual scenario. A project must be additional to be eligible to generate carbon credits. Different facets of a project can be assessed for additionality, including financial, technological and environmental.
Creating a new forest where none existed previously. In the case of the Kyoto Protocol, afforestation refers to planting on land that has not been forested since 1990. 1990 is used under the Kyoto Protocol as a base year for comparison.
Countries that have agreed to meet reduction targets for their greenhouse gas emissions, to be achieved between 2008 and 2012. It includes all Annex I countries, except Turkey and Belarus. All Annex B countries, except the USA have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
Also see non-annex I for comparison
Countries that are listed in Annex I of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They are either industrialised (developed) or in-transition countries. Annex I countries have committed to:
• adopting national policies and mitigation measures against climate change
• periodically communicating information about national emission reduction policies and measures
• utilising the best available science to calculate both greenhouse gas emissions and emission reductions.
In-transition countries were allowed some flexibility to meet these obligations.
Australia is an Annex I country.
Countries that are a sub-group of the Annex I countries. They are Organisation for Economic Co-opeation & development member countries but exclude economies-in-transition. Annex II Countries agreed to:
• provide new and additional financial resources to developing countries to assist them to comply with their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
• assist developing countries, who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, to meet the costs of adaptation
• take 'all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing country Parties, to enable them to implement the provisions of the Convention.' (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992, page 8). Annex II Countries include countries such as Australia, USA and the European Union.
Assigned Amount Unit (AAU)
A unit of carbon used for compliance purposes by countries who are signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. Countries are required to surrender a set volume of AAUs by end 2012. This volume differs according to each country’s specific targets as included in the country’s Initial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
A method of allocating carbon permits by which the government releases permits into the market through an auction process – allowing prices to fluctuate depending on supply and demand.
Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
The ACCC promotes competition and fair trade. Its primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with the Commonwealth competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws, and, make truthful 'Green' claims regarding their products and services. The ACCC has strict guidelines around the use of the term 'Carbon Neutral'.
Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority (ACCRA)
Subject to passage of the relevant legislation, Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority (ACCRA) will administer the proposed carbon pricing mechanism, and take over responsibility for two existing schemes, the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System (NGERS) and the expanded Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Australian Emissions Unit (AEU)
An emissions unit or ‘pollution permit’ corresponding to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent that is issued under the carbon pricing mechanism. A liable entity will be required to surrender one of these units for each tonne of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere (above their allowed amount). These units are used as an accounting tool for the regulatory body to keep track of how much carbon is being emitted overall.
Under a cap and trade scheme (including Australia’s proposed carbon pricing mechanism), ‘banking’ allows a facility to carry forward their carbon credits/permits from one year to the next – this depends on the specific banking rules.
A specific year chosen to compare carbon emission levels over time.
A reference point for what emissions would have been, if no emission reduction project existed. A baseline reflects a business as usual scenario.
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases and usually used as an additive or replacement to diesel which results in reduced levels of greenhouse gas emissions, particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons. Ongoing research is being undertaken to find additional sources of biodiesel such as algae, fungus and household waste.
Bioethanol is an alcohol produced from the fermentation of sugars present in certain plant materials such as sugar cane, wheat, corn and sugar beets. With advanced technology being developed, cellulosic biomass, such as trees and grasses, may also be used for ethanol production. Ethanol is usually used as an additive to petrol where it has a higher octane rating and also reduces vehicle greenhouse gas emissions as it is cleaner to burn.
Biofuels include bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas and are derived from renewable energy sources arising from plant or animal materials. Bioethanol is currently the most common biofuel worldwide.
Biogas is produced from the decomposition of organic material in the absence of oxygen. Sources include landfills, wastewater treatment plants and purpose built anaerobic digesters which use a variety of source materials such as household, industrial, green and animal waste. Biogas contains methane and can be used as a fuel for heating, transport, and electricity generation. The left over slurry can be used as a high-grade organic fertiliser.
Is a renewable resource made from biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms such as wood, waste and alcohol fuels. Biomass can be used to create energy – see biofuel. Biomass includes biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel, but excludes fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum (non-renewable resources).
When conducting a GHG inventory, a boundary is required to define what should and shouldn’t be included in that inventory list. A boundary can have several dimensions, for example an organisational, operational, geographic, sectoral, business unit and other.
Business as Usual (BAU)
What you would be doing ‘normally’ in the scope of business, if no carbon market, obligations, or pressure or willing to reduce emissions existed. Simply, a business would continue on as they were doing so, as if nothing had changed in their obligations and working environment.
A system that places a limit on emissions (the ‘cap’), then allocates out credits or ‘permits to pollute’ to participates in the system, then allows these participants to trade the permits amongst themselves. This system allows those participants emitting less than their allocated quota to sell their excess permits to participants needing to buy extra permits – as they have emitted more then their allocated emissions allowance. This system determines the total amount of greenhouse gas that can be released as each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent is linked to an emission permit that is bought or sold. In some cap and trade schemes permits may be distributed for free at the beginning of the trading period (this is called 'grandfathering'). While this system limits the volume of greenhouse gas that is released, it does not provide certainty around how much the emission reductions will cost.
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. There are three naturally occurring isotopes, with 12C and 13C being stable, while 14C is radioactive, decaying with a half-life of about 5730 years. Carbon is one of the few elements known since antiquity. The name "carbon" comes from Latin language carbo, coal.
An organisation’s internal collection of greenhouse gas emissions data (also see footprint, GHG Inventory).
The containment of greenhouse gases which would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere, for example the capture of methane emissions from landfill (these gases may then be used for energy recovery or flaring).
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
When carbon dioxide that would usually be realised into the atmosphere is intentionally trapped and then (in this gas form) stored. This means that the gas no longer enters the atmosphere where it traps heat. The most prominent CCS method currently is that of pushing the CO2 underground into the bedrock. This is a new technology being tested with arguments for and against its effectiveness.
A term that is often used generically to refer to either a carbon offset, or a carbon permit depending on the context - see below for the correct usage of terms credits, offsets and permits. Whichever way the word is used, it represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) that has been either avoided or removed by a carbon reduction project.
Under a proposed carbon pricing mechanism, a large polluter must obtain a ‘carbon permit’ to be able to emit one tonne of CO2-e into the atmosphere.
Under the current voluntary scheme, anyone may wish to offset their emissions and do so by purchasing a carbon credit or carbon offset.
Carbon cycle (or Natural carbon cycle)
The carbon cycle is the organic circulation of life’s critical element - carbon (atoms). This cycle allows for carbon to be recycled and reused throughout the biosphere and all of its organisms to create a ‘balance’ on earth.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
The most common and abundant of the greenhouse gases that affects the earth’s temperature. It is produced as a by-product of oil and gas production, and the burning of fossil fuels and renewable biomass, as well as from all animals, plants, and a number of other natural sources. It is important to note that carbon dioxide is a fundamental gas for sustaining enough heat in the atmosphere to sustain life on earth. CO2 has a GWP of 1 and used as a ‘base’ to compare other more potent greenhouse gases, it is also often referred to simply as ‘carbon’.
Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 -e)
Carbon dioxide equivalent is the internationally recognised measure of greenhouse gas emissions. It is a standard unit that takes into account the different global warming potentials of the different greenhouse gases and expresses the cumulative effect in a common unit.
A calculation of the total amount of carbon emissions created by an activity, either at an individual level, household or organisational level.
A trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to meet their national limits on emissions, either under the Kyoto Protocol or under other agreements, such as that among member states of the European Union. This term is also used more broadly to talk about the voluntary carbon market, for example in Australia.
A voluntary mechanism where an activity, event, household, business or organisation is responsible for no net emissions of greenhouse gases and can therefore be declared carbon neutral in that specific area. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by reducing emissions and then purchasing offsets for the remaining emissions. The National Carbon Offset Standard has set guidelines on how this claim can be credibly met.
A carbon offset is an investment in a project (or activity) that reduces greenhouse gas emissions (or removes) carbon from the atmosphere, which is used to compensate for emissions from your own activities.
A carbon tax requires emitters of greenhouse gases to pay for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent they release. The level of the tax is usually set, which provides certainty about how much releasing greenhouse gases will cost. It is up to emitters to decide how much greenhouse gas they will release. Carbon taxes provide certainty about the cost of releasing greenhouse gases, but not about the total volume that will be released. A carbon tax is different to a cap-and-trade scheme, in that it is considered a command-and-control approach.
Certification is a process that ensures a product, process or service meets a minimum set of standards. Some kind of external 3rd party verification is usually required to determine whether or not the standard has been met. Australian Government accredited carbon offset products in Australia have previously been certified under the Greenhouse Friendly program (or other similar programs) and from 1 July 2010 will be certified under the National Carbon Offset Standard.
Certified Emission Reductions (CER)
Certified Emission Reductions are credits generated under Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism. One CER unit is equivalent to the reduction of one tonne of CO2-e. CER units are designed to be used by developed countries to count towards meeting their Kyoto targets. These units can be used in limited quantities to meet targets (e.g. EU companies use them as offsets against their emissions under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme), and can also be used in voluntary markets, such as in Australia.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
A mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol that allows developed countries (e.g. Australia) to invest in ventures that reduce carbon emissions in developing countries (e.g. Asia). Once a project is officially approved it can create Certified Emission Reduction (CER) units/credits that can be bought or sold internationally and can be a lower cost offsetting option.
Clean Energy Bill 2011
The Clean Energy legislative package was passed through the house of representatives on 12 October 2011. The 19 Bills, which comprise the Clean Energy legislation and Steel Transformation Plan Bill, will put a price on carbon pollution, promote investment in renewable and clean energy technologies and support action to reduce carbon pollution on the land.
Any change in average temperatures and weather patterns over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.
Co-generation unit (Co-Gen)
A facility that produces electricity and steam/heat from the heat that is usually wasted when electricity is generated.
Conference of Parties (COP)
Since the UNFCCC entered into force, the parties have been meeting annually in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change e.g. the COP15 meeting in Copenhagen resulted in the 'Copenhagen Accord'. COP established the Kyoto Protocol and legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Copenhagen Accord is the document that delegates at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark where parties greed to "take note of" during the final plenary session on 18 December 2009. Its provisions include recognising "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius" in the context of sustainable development and combating climate change. To date, countries representing 80% of the world’s emissions are covered by the Accord.
Destruction or removal of forests.
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE)
A Federal Government Department responsible for drafting government guidelines and regulations on reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
Measurements from Antarctic ice cores show that before industrial emissions started atmospheric CO2 levels were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), and stayed between 260 and 280 during the preceding ten thousand years. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have gone up by approximately 35 percent since the 1900s, rising from 280 parts per million by volume to 387 parts per million in 2009. One study using evidence from stomata of fossilized leaves suggests greater variability, with carbon dioxide levels above 300 ppm during the period seven to ten thousand years ago, though others have argued that these findings more likely reflect calibration or contamination problems rather than actual CO2 variability. Because of the way air is trapped in ice (pores in the ice close off slowly to form bubbles deep within the firn) and the time period represented in each ice sample analyzed, these figures represent averages of atmospheric concentrations of up to a few centuries rather than annual or decadal levels.
Permission granted by the Government or another regulatory authority for a country, company or individual to emit a certain volume of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) over a given period.
A factor that measures the volume of carbon dioxide (often in kilograms) that is released per unit of activity e.g. 1 megawatt-hour of electricity consumed from the Queensland power-grid releases 0.89 tonnes of CO2-e.
The term refers to the ratio between the volume of greenhouse gas emissions generated and an input/output of a production process. For example, an airline may measure its emissions intensity as 0.53 tonnes of CO2-e per passenger mile.
A measurable decrease in the level of greenhouse gases that have been released by a country, state, organisation or individual.
Emissions Reduction Unit (ERU)
An ERU is a trading unit under the Kyoto Protocol generated from an emission-reduction or carbon removal project, under the Joint Implementation mechanism (where a developed nation invests money into a project in another developed nation). An ERU represents one tonne of CO2-e removed or reduced.
Usually means an emissions trading scheme. In relation to the Kyoto Protocol, Annex I countries can trade permits/credits in order to comply with their Kyoto-assigned targets. (Also see emissions trading scheme).
Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)
An ETS is a market-based mechanism, where large emitters of greenhouse gases are required to purchase and surrender a permit for each tonne of greenhouse gas emitted (over their allocated amount). The total number of available permits in the system is limited or capped by a regulatory authority. Organisations compete to purchase the number of permits they require. In some cases it will be cheaper for firms to reduce emissions internally - through areas such as energy efficiency and renewable energy - than buy permits, thus driving the lowest cost emissions reduction.
Different forms of energy include kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound, elastic and electromagnetic energy. The forms of energy are often named after a related force. German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz established that all forms of energy are equivalent energy in one form can disappear but the same amount of energy will appear in another form. A restatement of this idea is that energy is subject to a conservation law over time.
An energy audit provides a baseline of current energy use for a particular site and makes recommendations for energy efficiency improvements where possible.
Energy efficiency (improvements) refers to a reduction in the energy used for a given service (heating, lighting, etc.) or level of activity. Energy efficiency savings are usually achieved by substituting more advanced technology with less efficient energy consuming equipment.
European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
The European Union’s answer to an Emissions Trading Scheme. The EUETS is up and running since January 2005 and uses a cap and trade scheme.
Emissions that ‘escape’ a ‘system’ either intentionally or unintentionally - these gases are not physically controlled and commonly arise as a bio-product of mining activities and refrigeration/cooling systems. Fugitive Emissions are often due to equipment leaks, evaporative processes or windblown disturbances. Fugitive emissions are included in Scope 1 emissions.
A report published by Professor Ross Garnaut about the potential impacts of human-induced climate change on Australia. The report suggested what Australia should do in response to climate change as part of a global effort to keep greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at safe levels.
The overall warming of the planet, based on average surface temperature. (Also see climate change for an understanding of the difference between the two).
Global warming potential (GWP)
An index used to convert the non-carbon dioxide gases into a carbon dioxide equivalent for easy comparison of the potency of the 6 Kyoto greenhouse gases. For example, carbon dioxide itself has a GWP of 1, methane has a GWP of approximately 21 (it is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide).
The Gold Standard Foundation registers projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in ways that contribute to sustainable development and certifies their carbon credits for sale on both compliance and voluntary offset markets.
Green Investment Scheme (GIS)
An arrangement whereby the proceeds from the sale of AAUs to another nation are reinvested into environmentally beneficial initiatives: this is optional under the Kyoto Protocol.
Also see white paper
A discussion paper published by the Australian Government regarding key proposed policy responses by Australia to combat human-induced climate change. The paper put forward the 'cap and trade' emissions trading scheme and proposed assistance measures for households and businesses to alleviate the cost of the scheme to help them transition to a carbon constrained economy.
Renewable energy sources and clean energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions relative to ‘older’ means of energy production (like coal) that supply electricity to the grid. Green power includes technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, landfill gas and wave technologies – anything that is considered ‘greener’ for the environment.
Greenhouse Challenge Plus
The Greenhouse Challenge Plus was a joint voluntary initiative between the Australian Government and industry. Its objective was to encourage carbon reduction; improve greenhouse gas management; improve emissions measurement and monitoring; and strengthen government/industry information sharing. The Greenhouse Challenge Plus program began in 1995 and ceased on 1 July 2009 with more than 700 organisations taking part.
Greenhouse gases act as a blanket over the earth’s atmosphere, reducing the heat loss back into space. The heat is reflected back to the earth’s surface resulting in a warming effect known as the ‘Greenhouse effect’.
An Australian Government initiative that exists to certify products and services and approve credits for sale on the voluntary carbon market. Operating since 2001, the scheme is scheduled to cease in July 2010 to be replaced by the National Carbon offset Standard.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol)
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol is an internationally recognised emissions accounting and reporting standard. The GHG Protocol sets a precedent in methodology that allows information to be tracked and monitored with time, meets various internal and external reporting requirements, and provides a basis to develop effective reduction strategies.
Greenhouse gases (GHG)
The six gases listed under the Kyoto Protocol that are the main gasses released into the atmosphere by human activity. These gasses are:
• carbon dioxide (CO2)
• methane (CH4)
• nitrous oxide (N2O)
• hydrofluorocarbons (FCs)
• perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
• sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
GreenPower is the nationally-accepted NSW Government accreditation program for renewable energy and is currently supported by the Australian Government, and the state and territory governments. GreenPower accredited renewable energy is generated from sources like mini-hydro, wind power and biomass which produce no net greenhouse gas emissions. and meet high environmental standards. Supporting GreenPower encourages growth in the renewable energy industry and helps to reduce Australia’s reliance on fossil-fuelled energy.
When a company markets a claim of environmental responsibility which is either false or misleading to the consumer. Such claims are subject to intense scrutiny by the ACCC.
Hydrofluorocarbons are man-made chemical compounds. HFCs are produced commercially to replace chlorofluorocarbons, mainly used in refrigerants. HFCs have a global warming potential range from 1,300 to 11,700.
See Scope 2 emissions.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
A body of international scientists who assess information related to understanding the risk of human-induced climate change.
See footprint and greenhouse gas inventory.
Joint Implementation (JI)
A mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol that allows a developed country to create Emission Reduction Units or credits when they invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in another developed country. It is similar to that of the Clean Development Mechanism, however the JI exists between industrialised nations only.
A unit of energy equal to 3600 kilojoules. Electricity consumption is often measured in kilowatt hours, where one unit of electrical power used for one hour is one kilowatt hour. 1 kWh is equal to using a 60 watt light bulb for approximately 16.7 hours (1000 watts = 1 kW).
An international agreement that commits member countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming. This is achieved through three flexible mechanisms: international emissions trading; the Clean Development Mechanism; and the Joint Implementation mechanism. The Kyoto Protocol is relevant for the period 2008 to 2012. A new ‘protocol’ with discussions beginning in Copenhagen is proposed to continue the pledge from 2013.
Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)
An accounting inventory outlining how each country’s production and reduction of greenhouse gases is affected by human land use.
Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET)
The LRET covers large-scale renewable energy projects including wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal. It will deliver the vast majority of the Government’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
A methodology for investigating and comparing the environmental performance (including carbon emissions) of products and services through all stages of production, use, recovery and eventual disposal.
Mandatory carbon market
The regulated or compliance market developed largely for the Kyoto Protocol which puts a price on the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET)
Also called RET
An Australian Government imposed goal that commits electricity retailers to supply at least 20% renewable energy to Australia's electricity supply by 2020. The Government aims to achieve this target by the use of direct policy. It includes two parts – the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET).
Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC)
A graphical tool used to illustrate the most effective method for an organisation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at the least cost to them.
A unit to describe a measure of energy use - there are 1000 kilowatts in 1 megawatt. A megawatt hour is using one megawatt of electrical power for one hour. 1 MWh is equal to using a 60 watt light bulb for approximately 16,700 hours.
Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 21. Methane is emitted during production and transport of coal, natural gas and oil, and from the decomposition of biologically active wastes in landfills. Significant methane emissions also arise from farm animals or from manure.
Methane gas can be captured and then lit or ‘flared’, this changes the structure of the gas so that it is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (which is a much less potent gas on a tonne to tonne basis).
National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS)
The Australian Government’s standard to provide a means of ensuring integrity in the Australian voluntary carbon offset market. The Standard assists consumers in making effective choices in regard to offsetting and interpreting carbon neutral claims. It has been operational since 1 July 2010, and the standard provides guidance for businesses for determining their carbon footprint and for purchasing robust offsets.
National Greenhouse Accounts Factors (NGA Factors)
An Australian guide to emission factors from a range of sectors that is used by companies to calculate greenhouse gases inventories. It is prepared by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and replaces the AGO Factors & Methods Workbook.
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER Act)
This Act was created to establish a mandatory reporting system for corporate greenhouse gas emissions and energy production and consumption. Note that this Act only requires certain entities to report their carbon emissions and energy use, not to reduce or purchase permits/credits in relation to this data. If a liable entity fails to report on their data, they could face a fine from the Federal Government.
N2O is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 310. N2O is one of the six gases controlled under Kyoto Protocol. It is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of solid waste and fossil fuels.
Countries that have ratified or acceded to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but are not included in Annex I.
Office of Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER)
The Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) is a statutory authority established to oversee the implementation of the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). The Renewable Energy Regulator is appointed by the Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water to administer the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 (the Act), Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 and the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001.
Offset (carbon offset)
Offsetting your emissions simply means paying someone else to remove the pollution in the atmosphere to counteract the emissions you or your organisation have released. See carbon credit for more information.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Exists to help its member countries achieve sustainable economic growth and employment and to raise the standard of living in member countries while maintaining financial stability – all this in order to contribute to the development of the world economy. OECD is based in Paris, it was established in 1961 and has 30 member countries and an annual budget of around 320 million euros. Australia is a member.
Perfluorocarbons are a group of extremely potent greenhouse gas, regulated in the Kyoto Protocol. PFCs are emitted during semiconductor manufacture and aluminium smelting.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+)
Guidelines designed to use financial and market incentives in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The primary objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet can also deliver biodiversity, conservation and poverty alleviation. Credits that are created from this proposed scheme offer the opportunity to utilise funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries.
The Kyoto Protocol defines reforestation as the reestablishment of forest on land that was previously forested but converted to another use before 31 of December 1989.
Renewable energy is energy generated from resources which are naturally replenished. These include sunlight, wind, rain, tides, geothermal heat and biomass.
Renewable Energy Target (RET)
Also see MRET
An Australian Government imposed goal that commits electricity retailers to supply at least 20% renewable energy to Australia's electricity supply by 2020. The RET scheme replaced MRET in 2009 and places a legal liability on wholesale purchasers of electricity to proportionally contribute to an additional 45,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy per year by 2020 and sets the framework for both the supply and demand of renewable energy certificates (RECs) via the REC market.
A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes at a rate comparable to its rate of consumption. Oxygen, fresh water, timber, and biomass can all be considered renewable resources. However they can become non-renewable resources if used at a rate greater than the environment's capacity to replenish them.
In the context of carbon offsets, this means to remove the offset/credit or permit from the market. Also called ‘surrendering’. As a result of retirement those offsets can no longer be traded any further. Retiring offsets is a means of regulating offsetting and preventing companies and individuals from selling on the offsets or buying offsets that have already been used to make a carbon claim.
The concept of ‘Scope’ was introduced in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, to effect single liability by defining the difference between direct and indirect emissions.
Gases released directly into the atmosphere from a source you have control over, such as the fossil fuels you burn using the company vehicle fleet.
‘Fugitive emissions’ are also included as scope one emissions, they occur as a bio-product of mining activities and refrigeration/cooling systems.
Indirect emissions released by electricity and heat generation facilities (eg coal fired power stations) due to the purchase of electricity and heat for your own organisation or business.
Indirect Emission(s) other than energy indirect emission (Scope 2), which is a consequence of the activities of the company, but occur from sources not controlled by the company or owned by the company. For example: transport related activities, taxi use, cleaning services, postage and couriers.
Sequester (also sequestration)
The uptake and storage of carbon from the atmosphere. For example trees and other plants sequester (‘remove’) carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, through the process of photosynthesis.
A physical unit or process that removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, major sinks include forests and other vegetation.
Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES)
A scheme designed to deliver households, small businesses and community groups with a $40 set price for each Small-Scale Technology Certificate created by their small-scale technology instillation. These technologies include solar panels on household roofs and solar water heaters. See also MRET, RET and LRET for more information.
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)
Sulphur hexaflouride is a greenhouse gas and is a hydrofluorocarbon. It has a Global Warming Potential of 23,600. It is used in heavy industry to insulate high voltage electrical equipment.
Under an ETS, countries or businesses are allocated carbon credits or permits, usually for a designated timeframe. They must then surrender one carbon credit for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emitted within the relevant timeframe, this ensures the credits are not double-counted.
The National Carbon Accounting Toolbox (NCAT)
Provides the tools required to track greenhouse gas emissions and carbon stock changes from land use and management.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Established in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit and currently has 189 signatory countries. It is aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases by establishing strategies and policies for a global approach.
Scope 3 emissions and are greenhouse gasses associated with the supply of energy services that you use, such as importing and refining oil to make petrol and the transmission and distribution of electricity.
Voluntary carbon market
A market that occurs when individuals, businesses and countries that don't have a requirement to reduce their emissions and/or have already met their targets purchase carbon offsets to do their bit towards reducing carbon emissions. Where carbon offsets are purchased and retired voluntarily - not to meet an obligation under an existing carbon reduction policy - the abatement the entity achieves is considered to be additional.
Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS)
The VCS Program provides a robust, new global standard and program for approval of credible voluntary offsets. The traded unit is a Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU).
Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VER)
A person or entity carrying out a voluntary activity aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The carbon offsets/credits - the VER unit - created from these projects are developed by carbon offset providers who are not certified. Certification of carbon credits are backed by frameworks and institutions, for example under the UN's Clean Development Mechanism, to ensure that real greenhouse gas emission reductions actually occur and provide a clear audit trail.
White paper: an informal parliamentary paper detailing proposed policy or action on a particular current issue.