Glossary of Carbon Terms


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Glossary of Carbon Terms

  1. 1. Glossary of Carbon TermsInformation Supplied By ECO Carbon OffsetsAAUAAU stands for ‘Assigned Amount Unit’ within the Kyoto Protocol. These are tradable carboncredits. Countries have made commitments under Annex B to accept targets for reducinggreenhouse gases. Under Article 17, if countries in Annex B have a surplus of AAUs becausethey have met their emission reduction targets, then these surplus AAU credits may be sold toother Annex B countries who have not met their targets.Kyoto also created other types of carbon credits, most well known amongst the other types areERUs, and CERs.TopAbatementThe process of reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions.TopAdditionality‘Additionality’ is an important criteria under the Kyoto Protocols to determine whether a carbonreduction project actually qualifies as a carbon abatement project. 1 / 20
  2. 2. Under the ‘Additionality’ Rule, projects only qualify if they are additional to what would havehappened anyhow in the normal day-to-day course of conducting business. If a particularproject or development would have happened anyhow – then it does not pass the‘Additionality’ test and will not qualify as a carbon offset project which may be sold on thecarbon market.TopAfforestationAfforestation is the process of planting trees for carbon sequestration purposes to create forestson land that was previously unforested, typically for longer than a generation. Afforestation maybe as the result of planting; direct seeding or by other human induces intervention to encouragethe redevelopment of the native forest.TopAGOAustralian Greenhouse Office – now part of the Department of Climate Change.TopAvoided Deforestation 2 / 20
  3. 3. Avoided Deforestation is the protection of existing forests in circumstances whereby the treescould otherwise be legally cut down. Eligible under the Kyoto Protocol for Carbon EmissionsCredits.TopCarbon CreditA Carbon credit is the term used to describe a reduction/offset of one tonne of greenhouse gasemissions bought by a business to lower or eliminate their carbon footprint. (Also see‘Offsets’)TopCarbon FootprintCarbon Footprint is the term used to describe and quantify, in tonnes of CO2, the amount ofgreenhouse gas emissions produced by a business in the course of conducting its operations.These emissions are produced by the use of various business inputs such as transport;electrical power; and various services purchased by an organisation.TopCarbon Neutral 3 / 20
  4. 4. After a business has measured its carbon footprint, it may purchase carbon offsets to negate itscarbon emissions. A company is then classed as carbon neutral.TopCarbon SequestrationCarbon Sequestration is the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere (or sea) andstoring it in some medium. Bio-sequestration is the term used when this process is conductedby vegetation.TopCarbon SinkA Carbon Sink is the name given to a pool of carbon extracted from the atmosphere.Trees/forests, for instance, represent a carbon sink because they remove carbon dioxide fromthe atmosphere and store it in their trunks; roots; branches and leaves. Currently we are usingthe atmosphere itself as a carbon sink with which to store all the industrial pollution.TopCERsCertified Emission Reductions (CER) units are a type of carbon credit issued under Kyoto’s 4 / 20
  5. 5. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). One CER is equal to one tonne of CO2 equivalent.CERs are issued from emission reductions derived from approved CDM projects after suitableverification has been done and the project has been certified as producing genuine emissionoffsets. CERs are used to count towards offsetting the emissions of a country as part of thatnation’s compliance with its Kyoto obligations to reduce its green house gas emissions. Inaddition, CERs can also be used under the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (byboth companies and governments) to offset their emissions. EU country members are: Austria;Belgium; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece;Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal;Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; & the UK.CERS are held / registered, by both Government and private corporations, at a specific carbonaccount at the UN.CERS can also be issued for emission removal through afforestation programs carried outunder the CDM forestry projects.TopCDMCDM is an acronym for ‘Clean Development Mechanism’. It is a structure set up by Kyotowhereby projects located in developing countries, designed to reduce greenhouse gasemissions, can be used to generate carbon credits, known as CERs. These can be sold toindustrial countries to meet their Kyoto carbon reduction targets.The projects include renewable energy generation, reforestation and switching to clean fuels.However, although deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of the world’s greenhousegasses, it has only attracted 1% of CDM funding. This is in spite of the fact that forestationoffsets account for 36% of the voluntary carbon market.There is a simplified and less costly process for small-scale CDM projects. Small scale isdefined as: renewable energy projects under 15 MW, energy efficiency projects that reduceenergy consumption by up to 15 GWh per year; projects which emit less than 15 kilotonnesCO2e pa. 5 / 20
  6. 6. TopCH4CH4 is the chemical formula for Methane.TopCO2eCO2 is the chemical formula for Carbon Dioxide. The ‘e” in CO stands for equivalent. 2eThere are six Greenhouse Gases (GHG) specified by Kyoto. They vary in importanceaccording to their contribution to what is termed their ‘Greenhouse Warming Capacity’ (GWC)over a 100 year period: The GWC are as follows: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is set at: 1, Methane(CH4) is set at: 23 times more dangerous than CO2; Nitrous oxide (N2O) is: 310;Hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs) as between: 150 – 11,000; Perfluorcarbons (PFCs) as between:6,000 – 9,000; and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) as : 23,900. Consequently, 1 tonne of Methaneemissions would be expressed as representing 25 Tonnes CO2e.TopEmbodied EnergyEmbodied Energy is a term which refers to that energy utilised in the production of goods. It isthe energy taken to manufacture products which are in turn purchased for use by the businesswhich procures them. Such as the energy required in constructing desks, motor vehicles;buildings; or computers which might be purchased be a legal firm and used in the delivery of itsservices to its customers. 6 / 20
  7. 7. TopERUERU is an acronym for Emission Reduction Unit. The ERU is a trading unit under Kyoto’sJoint Implementation (JI) mechanism (see Kyoto Implementation Mechanisms). An ERU isgenerated when there is a verified reduction of Greenhouse Gases under the JI mechanism. One ERU equals one tonne of CO2e. ERUs are bought and sold between Annex 1 countries.Emission Reduction occurs when emissions that would otherwise be vented into theatmosphere are avoided. For instance, when methane gas emissions from landfill dumps isavoided through Local Councils capturing those biogas methane emissions and using them as apower source.TopFlaringThe sale of carbon offsets derived from the burning of waste/flare gas which converts it intocarbon dioxide emissions which have a lower CO2e value. For instance, Methane is 25 timesas potent as CO2 as a Greenhouse gas. The difference can be claimed as a carbon offset.TopFossil Fuels 7 / 20
  8. 8. Fossil fuels are those ‘fuel’ deposits derived from organic matter deposited into the variousstratum layers of the earth through the death and accumulation of organic life forms. Becauseof this they are considered as non-renewable sources of energy. They include mainly Coal;Gas; and Oil. Less economic accessible sources include tar sands.TopFood MilesFood miles is a measure of the physical transportation distance which food travels in itsmarketing distribution channel from the growing of the food: to storage; to processing; towarehousing and storage, and finally to the point of sale to the consumer. The food milemeasurement also takes into account the mechanism of transportation. For instance, airtransport is rated more CO2e intensive that rail transport. Accordingly, food miles, being ametric of both distance and mode of transport, enables the GHG emissions from one type offood source to be compared with any another.TopFugitive EmissionsFugitive emissions refer to those greenhouse gas emissions lost in the distribution process ofdelivering power to the consumer. This can occur, for instance, in the leakage of electricity froma power pipeline or in the leakage of gas from a gas pipeline. It also occurs in the productionstages of coal; gas or oil from the unintentional release of methane gas.Top 8 / 20
  9. 9. GGASThroughout the World, often in frustration with the progress of their own national governmentsto provide leadership on Climate Change, various States have developed their own emissionreduction schemes and standards. California, as a State of the USA, is perhaps the mostoutstanding example. In Australia, GGAS is a New South Wales Greenhouse Gas ReductionScheme (NSW GGAS) based in Sydney.TopGold StandardThe Gold Standard, based in Geneva, was launched in 2003 by internationally respectedNot-For-Profit groups (headed by the WWF) as a tool to provide project developers with amechanism whereby they can ensure that projects initiated under the Kyoto CDM and JImechanisms are genuine and credible projects which result in reduced carbon emissions andimproved environmental results. The Gold standard certification applies only to technologicalprojects (renewable power projects or to energy efficient technologies) and not to forestry.TopGreenhouse Gases (GHGs)GHGs are atmospheric gases that cause global warming and climate change. The major GHGsare carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N20); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs):perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). 9 / 20
  10. 10. TopGreenhouse Gas Equivalent (CO2e)The ‘e” in CO2e stands for equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions. There are six GreenhouseGases specified by Kyoto. They vary in importance according to their contribution toGreenhouse Warming capacity over a 100 year period: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is set at: 1,Methane (CH4) is set at: 23 more dangerous than CO2; Nitrous oxide (N2O) is: 310;Hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs) as between: 150 – 11,000; Perfluorcarbons (PFCs) as between:6,000 – 9,000; and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) as : 23,900.TopInter- governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)The IPCC was established in 1988 by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization and isthe peer body on climate change and associated methodology.TopISO 14000ISO stands for ‘International Organization for Standardization’. ISO 14000 is a set ofinternational framework standards for the management and audit of greenhouse gas emissionreduction programs.ISO 14064 (2006): is a set of Standards for accounting and verification of greenhouse gasreduction projects. 10 / 20
  11. 11. ISO 14065: specifies the competency requirement standards for companies undertakinggreenhouse gas validation and verification assignments.TopIPCCIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see above)TopKyoto ProtocolThe Kyoto Protocol is an initiative of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention onClimate Change). It’s objective is reducing the increase in greenhouse gases and thenstabilising GHG emissions. It came into force in 2006. Individual sovereign governments mustratify the agreement before it becomes binding upon them. Kyoto commits industrialised nationsto cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 per cent of their 1990 levels by 2012. Australiasigned Kyoto agreement 11 March 2008.TopKyoto Protocol MechanismsThe Kyoto Protocol has three mechanisms to achieve cuts in emissions: (1) the Clean 11 / 20
  12. 12. Development Mechanism (CDM), (2) Joint Implementation (JI) and (3) Emissions Trading.TopKyoto Offset UnitsThe main type of offset units nominated by Kyoto, to enable countries meet their emissiontargets are: AAUs, ERUs, and CERs.TopLULUCFLULUCF is an acronym for ‘Land use, land-use change and Forestry’ projects. Some forestryactivities create carbon sinks in forests and soil. Other forestry activities, such as land clearing,result in an increase in carbon emissions. Deforestation, particularly in Brazil, Indonesia andparts of Africa, account for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions because it results in areduction of greenhouse gases being removed from the atmosphere. Planting trees leads to adecrease in atmospheric emissions because trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.TopMitigationMitigation refers to human action to either reduce emissions or to absorb emissions already 12 / 20
  13. 13. produced by locking them in a carbon sink. Examples of reducing emissions include the use ofalternative power sources such as solar and wind power. Examples of carbon sinks are forestssequestering carbon from the atmosphere.TopNCATNCAT is an acronym for the National Carbon Accounting Toolbox. This provides tool tomeasure GHG emissions and carbon in land uses.TopMonocultureThe practice of planting trees of a single species. Monoculture does not replicate thebiodiversity of the previous vegetation and is more susceptible to being wiped out by diseasesince all of the plantings are of the same type, with the same weaknesses and all aresusceptible to the same disease.TopOffsetsCarbon Offsets, also known as Carbon Credits, are produced in one of two ways – either as 13 / 20
  14. 14. result of reducing the level of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, or as a result ofinitiating activities which absorb GHG emissions already present in the atmosphere. Projectswhich reduce the level of GHGs emitted into the atmosphere are typified by alternative power/renewable energy activities (such as windfarms) which replace the energy which wouldotherwise have been derived from fossil fuels (like coal or oil). Projects, which absorbgreenhouse gas emissions, create a carbon sink. Planting of forests are typical of such carbonsinks. One Carbon Credit equals one tonne of C02e. The Australian price for a carbon offset isaround $20 per tonne. Carbon Offsets are purchased by organisations to offset their carbonfootprint emissions. For example, emission quantities of 500 tonnes of carbon-equivalent pa(fairly typical for a 2nd level law firm) would require 500 carbon offsets and cost the businessapproximately $10,000 at $20 per tonne.TopRECsRenewable Energy Credits. Derived from projects such as windfarms; solar power ;hydroelectric power and biofuels.TopREDDThere is a class of offset mechanisms referred to as the REDD scheme. REDD is an acronymfor Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degredation.Basically, REDD credits provide carbon offsets in return for the protection or avoidance of thedestruction of forests. This avoidance of land clearance is sometimes referred to as ‘AvoidedDeforestation’. REDD Payments are a device which protects existing forests from destruction.REDD offsets represent a potentially powerful force to channel financial investments fromIndustrialised Nations to encourage Developing Nations retain their old growth forests. 14 / 20
  15. 15. Although REDD credits are not yet accepted in the EU compliance system, REDDs are apopular and growing offset type and accounted for 29% of all credits sold in the voluntarymarket in 2010.TopReforestationReforestation is the process of restoring forests on land that was once forested but on whichtrees were cut down for other agricultural farming purposes before 31st December 1999.TopRenewable Energy ResourcesRenewable energy refers to energy generated from a natural source quickly replenished bynatural process. Examples include: wind; timber; and bio-mass (eg corn stubble). If a naturalresource is consumed more quickly than nature can renew that resource, it is no longerconsidered as renewable.TopRERsRERs is an acronym for Registered Emission Reduction units. They are called Registeredbecause they are registered on the land with the Land Titles Office and subject to the ForestProperty Act under a registered Forest Property Agreement in each of the Australian States 15 / 20
  16. 16. RERs carbon offsets are produced from the carbon dioxide sequestered by trees. These are anoffset (like REDDs & VERs) sold in the voluntary market to organisations wishing to offset theircarbon emissions. One RER equals one tonne of CO2e.In order for a RER to be recognised as a carbon offset, it has to meet the Kyoto planting andreforestation standards. Standards are important to provide buyers with dependability.TopRetireRetiring carbon credits means to remove them from the carbon trading market. The conceptwas introduced to ensure that once a carbon credit has been sold or retired, it cannot be tradedany further. If a fully grown tree has sequestered 3 tonnes of CO2 and it has been used tooffset the emissions from a vehicle for one year, you cannot use the same tree to offset newemissions the following year. Its carbon has already been fully accounted for. It cannot beresold. This is why carbon asset registers are so important. The process of retiring carbonoffsets avoids them being sold or bought more than once – so preventing double counting.TopRevegetationRevegetation is the name given to the process of restoring woodland, with a minimum area of0.05 hectares, through human intervention and for the purpose of storing carbon in a plantationproject which does not meet the definitions of afforestation and reforestation.Top 16 / 20
  17. 17. SequestrationSequestration is the process of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it ina carbon sink .TopSF6Sulphur hexafluoride.TopSink (Carbon)A Carbon Sink is the name given to a pool of carbon extracted from the atmosphere. Trees, forinstance, represent a carbon sink because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphereand store it in their trunks; roots; branches and leaves. Overall, we are using the atmosphereitself as a carbon sink in which to store all of our industrial pollution.TopSoil Carbon 17 / 20
  18. 18. Soil is a significant storage sink for carbon. Increasingly, soil carbon capture will become part ofEmission Trading Schemes. The amount of carbon in the soil increases with the amountmicrobial activity in the soil. Organic farming offers significant potential in this area.TopStationary Energy EmissionsStationary Energy Emissions are basically emissions arising from either the process ofgenerating electricity or from the production of other fuels consumed in the manufacturing,construction or domestic sectors. These fuels include gas; coal; biomass; petroleum and liquidgas.Another way to view Stationary Energy is to define it in the negative as those emissions whichare not included under other the major emission categories – such as those arising from:Transport; Agriculture; Waste; Fugitive Emissions; Land Use and some Industrial Processes.TopUNFCCCThe United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. UNFCC was established at theRio Earth Summit in 1992.It set up a framework wherein the purpose was to limit the impact on the climate from humaninduced activities by stabilising the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to a levelwhich will not damage the atmosphere and cause dangerous climate change. 18 / 20
  19. 19. TopVERsVERs is an acronym for Verified or Voluntary Emission Reduction units. These are a type ofcredit offset sold in the voluntary market to organisations wishing to offset their carbonemissions. VERs are created and verified outside of the Kyoto protocol under voluntarycertification standards. One VER equals one tonne of CO2e. VERS can be an importantsource of additional income to a project to enable new energy-reducing projects meet theirreturn on investment targets.In order for a VER to be recognised as a carbon offset, it has to meet certain standards.Standards are important to provide buyers with dependability. There are several VERsstandards. These include: The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), the CDM Gold Standard;VER +; and the California Climate Action Register.VERs are essentially produced from technological and industrial process which have the effectof reducing the amount of CO2e being emitted into the atmosphere. These include the likes of;solar technology; biomass electricity generation; windfarm technology; hydropower from rivers;production of electricity or heat from methane captured from landfill; and utilisation of methanein coal mines.TopVoluntary MarketThe carbon emission reduction ‘Voluntary’ market refers to those businesses andorganisations who are not legally obliged or ‘mandated’ by legislation to offset their carbonemissions but who may wish to do so for reasons other such as leadership; environmentalresponsibility; or for marketing purposes. The ‘Voluntary’ market covers both suppliers andbuyers of carbon offsets. These offsets can take the form of Verified Emission Reductions units(VERs), or Registered Emission Reduction units (RERs), or REDDs (Reducing Emissions fromDeforestation and forest Degredation). 19 / 20
  20. 20. Top Related articles Who Are ECO? ( Frequently Asked Questions ( We Measure Your Carbon Footprint & Provide Carbon Offsets Through Carbon Farming For More Info...Click Here... 20 / 20Powered by TCPDF (