Afforestation — the establishment of a forest in an area where there was no forest.
Alternative Fuels — non-conventional or advanced fuels such as methanol, coal-derived liquid fuel, biomass, ethanol, biodiesel and chemical-based storage batteries.
Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC) — The change in global or regional climate patterns from the continuing rise in the average temperature of Earth’s climate system attributed to the rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 produced by fossil fuel combustion. This term is often used interchangeably with “Global Warming.”
Baseline — a level of GHG emissions during a specific period with the targeted objective of reduction at a future date.
Biofuels — fuels derived from solid, liquid or gaseous materials, which are byproducts of ancient organic matter, such as plants, or derived from the industrial conversion of waste products and other materials.
British Thermal Unit (BTU) — a unit of energy equal to the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In the U.S., BTU describes the heat value of fuels, power, steam generation, as well as the POWER of heating and cooling systems. One kilowatt-hour of electricity generates about 3,400 BTUs.
California Climate Action Registry — a California program enacted in 2001 by Climate Action Reserve legislation that is intended to addressing climate change through emissions reduction and verification. It was enacted to promote the early actions of California businesses to manage and reduce GHG emissions. It also established the Climate Action Registry Reporting Tool (CARROT) as a database for emissions reporting. The Registry, with 23 original participants, has grown to over 350 corporations, universities, cities, counties, government agencies and environmental organizations.
California Global Warming Solutions Act (AKA AB32) — a landmark bill passed in California in 2006 requiring the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms to reduce the state’s GHG emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
Cap-and-Trade — market-based approach to controlling pollution by allowing corporations and governments to trade emission allowances within a cap, or limit, on total emissions.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) — the most common GHG. the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was estimated at 280 parts per million (PPM) before the Industrial Revolution; as of April 2014, CO2 concentration is just over 400ppm due to anthropogenic activities such as fossil fuel combustion and land-use change.
Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) — a unit measuring the global warming potential of GHGs.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) – the process of capturing CO2 from point sources and transporting it to a storage site where it will not escape into the atmosphere. This is also known as “Carbon Capture and Storage.”
Carbon Credit — the generic term for any tradable certificate representing the right to emit one ton of CO2 or any GHG with the CO2 equivalent equal to one ton of CO2.
Carbon Finance — financing made available for mitigation and adaptation projects that address climate change.
Carbon Footprint — the amount of CO2 emissions emitted by individuals, firms or organizations due to their consumption.
Carbon Tax — a fee levied on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on their carbon content.
Certified Emission Reduction (CER) — a carbon credit issued by the Clean Development Mechanism pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol that are used by industrial operators covered by the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to demonstrate compliance with emission limitation targets.
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) — North America’s only voluntary, legally-binding GHG reduction and trading system based in Chicago for emission sources and offset projects; the exchange was closed in 2010.
Clean Air Act (CAA) — federal law designed to control air pollution on a national level by instituting ambient air quality emissions standards.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) — a flexibility mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol that allows developed countries to meet their emission limitation and reduction commitments. It provides for emissions reduction projects that generate CERs, which can be traded in emissions trading schemes.
Clean Energy — an umbrella term describing energy that is not derived from fossil fuels; includes renewable and alternative energy resources.
Climate Change — [See Anthropogenic Climate Change]
Compliance Market — a market that is created when a U.S. state institutes an RPS in which retail power suppliers trade RECs to meet the state’s RPS target.
Cogeneration — the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source. Also known as “Combined Heat and Power (CHP).”
Ecosystem — an ecological unit consisting of living organisms — plants, animals, microbes — in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment.
Efficiency — the ratio of the useful work done by a machine to the energy supplied to it, often expressed as a percentage.
Emission Offset — a reduction in emissions in one place that can be used to compensate for emissions elsewhere.
Emission Reduction Credit (ERC) — credits created by emitting sources that shut down or voluntarily curtail their emissions beyond the required level. They are financial instruments that can be leased, “banked” for future use or traded, providing incentive to reduce emissions below required levels.
Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) — a transaction that transfers carbon credits between two parties under the Kyoto Protocol.
Emission Reduction Unit (ERU) — a unit established by the Joint Implementation mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol that represents a reduction of one ton of CO2 or any GHG with the CO2 equivalent equal to one ton of CO2.
Energy Star — an international standard for energy efficient consumer products originated in the U.S.
European Climate Exchange (ECX) — the largest carbon emission trading scheme created in Europe in 2005.
European Union Allowance (EUA) — certificates representing one ton of CO2 distributed by the EU pursuant to the ETS compliance program.
European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) — the first and largest emissions trading scheme in the world that was launched in 2005. As of 2013, EU ETS covers more than 11,000 factories, power stations, and other installations in 31 countries, including all 28 EU member states.
Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) — a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies by offering long-term purchasing agreements with renewable energy producers. Germany, Spain and Japan are examples of countries that have taken this approach to promoting renewable energy development.
Flexibility Mechanisms — refers to the Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation mechanisms defined under the Kyoto Protocol.
Geothermal Energy — energy derived from the natural thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth.
Gigawatt (GW) — a unit of power equal to one billion watts, or one thousand megawatt hours, enough to power roughly 750,000 to 1,000,000 homes.
Global Warming — [See Anthropogenic Climate Change]
Global-Warming Potential (GWP) — the relative measure of how much heat a GHG traps in the atmosphere based on the comparison of the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the GHG in relation to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of CO2.
Greenhouse Effect — the process by which heat is absorbed by atmospheric GHGs and is re-radiated in all directions.
Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) — gases in the atmosphere that absorb and emit heat, the primary ones being carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapor.
Green Trading — the umbrella term describing all forms of environmental trading, including CO2 emission and REC trading.
Green Wave — the rising consciousness about environmental issues and the efforts to address them by consumers, companies and government.
Grid — the power distribution system for electric utilities.
Grid Connection — an electric power production facility connection to grid.
Hertz (Hz) — a unit of frequency that measures the rate of the directional change in electricity flow in alternating current (AC).
Host Country — the physical location of an emissions reduction project.
Joint Implementation (JI) — one of three flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol that helps nations meet their emissions reduction obligations by allowing them to earn ERUs from investing in emission reduction projects.
Infrastructure – long-term physical and organizational structures necessary for an economy to function.
Kilowatt (kW) — a unit of power equal to 1,000 watts.
Kilowatt-Hour ( kWh) — a unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt-hours.
Kyoto Protocol — an international treaty that sets binding obligations on developed countries to reduce GHG emissions through three flexibility mechanisms: Clean Development Mechanism, Emissions Trading, Joint Implementation.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) – a technique that is used to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life from cradle-to-grave.
Master Limited Partnership (MLP) – a limited partnership that is publicly traded on a securities exchange. First created in 1982, MLPs have been available to investors in energy portfolios of oil, natural gas, coal and pipeline projects, and pay a quarterly distribution of cash flow back to investors. There are many different infrastructure sub sectors of MLP’s, including pipelines, storage, production, and exploration.
Megawatt (MW) — a unit of power equivalent to 1 million watts or 1000 kilowatts, which is enough to power about 1,000 homes.
Methane — a flammable, colorless and odorless GHG that is the primary component of natural gas.
Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord — the cooperative effort by nine states and the Canadian province of Manitoba to reduce GHG emissions.
Mobile Source — a source of pollution that can be moved from one location to another.
Ozone Layer — the region of Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs most of the Sun’s UV radiation, including those that would be damaging to exposed lifeforms on Earth.
Particulate Matter (PM) — fine particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in Earth’s atmosphere. They can be natural or manmade, and can adversely affect human health and have impacts on climate and precipitation.
Photovoltaic (PV) — a device that generates electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity.
Point Source — a single, identifiable source of pollution.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) — an agreement between electricity producers and buyers that defines the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the two parties.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions (RGGI) — a regional initiative by states and provinces in the Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada that institutes a regional cap-and-trade system to reduce GHG emissions.
Reforestation — the establishment of forests after they have been depleted, usually through deforestation.
Renewable Energy — energy is naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, tides, waves and geothermal heat.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) — a regulation requiring increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, generally in the form of an obligation on electricity supply companies to produce a specified fraction of their electricity from those sources.
Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) — a tradable, non-tangible energy commodity that represents proof that 1 megawatt-hour of electricity was produced from a renewable energy source.
Sequestration — the long-term biogeochemical cycling of carbon between the atmosphere and Earth’s reservoirs.
Smart meter — an electronic device that records electrical power consumption in short intervals and enables two-way communications between the meter and the central utility system.
Solar Panel — [See Photovoltaic]
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) — any investment strategy that seeks to consider both financial good and social good. It favors corporate practices that promote moral and ethical criteria such as environmental stewardship, social justice, corporate governance, consumer protection, human rights and diversity.
Stern Report — a landmark report released for the British government in 2006 by economist Nicholas Stern that discusses the effect of global warming on the world economy. It concludes that the international community must invest 1% of global annual GDP to achieve the stabilization of the climate system.
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) or (SOX) — a chemical compound that is released naturally by volcanic activity, and artificially by various industrial processes. This is the compound primarily responsible for acid rain.
Sustainable Development — a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Terawatt (TW) — a unit of power equal to 1 trillion watts. Total world energy consumption is estimated at over 16 TW.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — an international environmental treaty enacted at the 1992 Earth Summit with the objective of “stabilizing [GHG] concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
Validation — the independent review of project designs to confirm CDM estimates.
Voluntary Emissions Reductions (VERs) — a type of carbon offset exchanged in the voluntary or over-the-counter market for carbon credits, intended to assist the financing of emissions reduction projects.
Voluntary Market — a mechanism in which institutional, commercial, and industrial users make voluntary purchases of allowances to support initiatives designed to address climate change and GHG emissions.
Western Climate Initiative — the joint effort by six U.S. states — Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington — and 4 Canadian provinces to reduce GHG emissions.