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Glossary 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z All

TermDefinition

Activities Implemented Jointly, or AIJ

The pilot phase for joint implementation (JI), as defined in Article 4.2 (a) of the FCCC, that allows for project activity among developed countries (and their companies) and between developed and developing countries (and their companies). AIJ is intended to allow Parties to gain experience in jointly implemented project activities.There is no crediting for AIJ activity during the pilot phase. A decision remains to be taken on the future of AIJ projects and how they may relate to the Kyoto Mechanisms.

Adaptation

Adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.

Additionality

According to the Kyoto Protocol Articles on Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism, emissions reduction units (ERUs & CERs) will be awarded to project-based activities provided that the projects achieve reductions that are 'additional to those that otherwise would occur.' The issue is subject to further clarification by Parties.

Some now make the distinction between different types of additionality criteria:

  • Environmental additionality - credits are allocated to projects purely on the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions or limitations achieved
  • Financial additionality - the funding for the project would need to be additional to existing ODA commitments from governments and GEF
  • Investment additionality - in this approach to defining whether a project would qualify for credits, investors would need to demonstrate that the credits generated significantly improve the financial and/or commercial viability of the project activity
  • Technological additionality - the technology used for the project activity shall be the best available for the circumstances of the host Party

Adverse Effects/Impacts

Adverse effects or impacts, refers to the potential negative effects of climate change as well as the impact of the implementation of response measures. Such effects or impacts include sea level rise, change in precipitation or other weather patterns, and reduced demand for fossil fuels or other energy intensive products. Impacts of climate change can be positive as well as negative.

Afforestation

The act or process of establishing a forest on land that has not been forested in recent history.

Afforestation, Reforestation, Deforestation

These are the three land-use change and forestry activities which are included in Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol. Net changes resulting from these activities are allowed to be used by the Parties in meeting their GHG obligations under the Protocol in the first commitment period.

AIJ

See Activities Implemented Jointly

Allocation

The division of emissions permits or allowances among greenhouse gas emitters for the purpose of establishing a market in emissions permits. There are several possible methods for allocating permits, including grandfathering and permit auctioning.

Allocation plan

National plan of an EU-Memberstate, which rules the issueing of allowances for the installations in the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme. The allocation plan shall be published and notified to the EU-Commission. The plan shall be based on objective and transparent criteria, including those listed in Annex III of EU-Directive.

Annex B countries

Annex B in the Kyoto Protocol lists those developed countries that have agreed to a commitment to control their greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008-12, including those in the OECD, Central and Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. Not quite the same as Annex I, which also includes Turkey, and Belarus, while Annex B includes Croatia, Monaco, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.

Annex I countries

Annex I to the Climate Convention (UNFCCC) lists all the countries in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1990, plus countries with economies in transition, Central and Eastern Europe (excluding the former Yugoslavia and Albania). By default the other countries are referred to as Non-Annex I countries. Under Article 4.2 (a & b) of the Convention, Annex I countries commit themselves specifically to the aim of returning individually or jointly to their 1990 levels of GHG emissions by the year 2000.

Annex II countries

Annex II to the Climate Convention lists all countries in the OECD in 1990. Under Article 4.2 (g) of the Convention, these countries are expected to provide financial resources to assist developing countries comply with their obligations such as preparing national reports. Annex II countries are also expected to promote the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries

Anthropogenic Emissions

Emissions of greenhouse gases associated with human activities.

These include

Assigned Amounts

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that each developed country has agreed that its emissions will not exceed in the first commitment period (2008 - 12) is the assigned amount.

This is calculated by multiplying its total greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 by 5 (for the five-year commitment period) and then by the percentage it agreed to as listed in Annex B of the Protocol (e.g., 92 per cent for the EU, 93 per cent for the USA).

Units of the assigned amounts are referred to as either PAAs (Parts of the Assigned Amount) or AAUs (Assigned Amount Units).

Atmosphere

The envelope of gases surrounding the earth and bound to it by the earth's gravitational attraction. The atmosphere is divided into layers:

  • the troposphere (fromground level to between 8-17 km)
  • the stratosphere (up to 50km)
  • the mesosphere (50-90 km)
  • and the thermosphere which forms the transition zone to outer space
Mixing between layers is extremely slow.

Auctioning

Greenhouse gas emissions may be allocated among emitters and firms in a domestic emissions trading regime based upon willingness to pay for these permits. Supporters of this method of emissions trading assert that the advantage of auctioning is that it would provide governments with revenue and provide price signals to the new and developing market for permits. Critics contend that auctioning´s disadvantage is that it may be less politically acceptable to those entities that would stand to gain from grandfathering of permits.

Banking

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol may save excess emissions allowances or credits from the first commitment period for use in subsequent commitment periods (post - 2012).

Base year

Emissions limitation / reduction is based on a so-called reference / base year. For the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O, 1990 was specified as base / reference year. For the other greenhouse gases, 1995 is also accepted as an alternative base / reference year.

Baseline

The emissions that would occur without policy intervention (in a business-as-usual scenario). There are different degrees of aggregation of baselines.

  • national (important for the derivation of national emission targets)
  • sectoral (important for the allocation of emission permits to companies)
project (important for the calculation of emission reductions under the kyoto mechanisms)

Biofuel

A fuel produced from dry organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants.

Biomass

The total dry organic matter or stored energy content of living organisms.

Biomass can be used for fuel directly by burning it (e.g., wood), indirectly by fermentation to an alcohol (e.g., sugar) or extraction of combustible oils (e.g., soybeans).

Borrowing

The Kyoto Protocol does not permit borrowing emissions credits or units from future commitment periods (i.e., from the periods after 2012) to satisfy obligations in the first commitment period (2008 - 12). On the otherhand, carrying forward excess credits is allowed.

See also Banking

Brennwertkessel

Brennwertkessel ist ein Heizkessel, der für die Kondensation eines Großteils des in den Abgasen enthaltenen Wasserdampfes konstruiert ist.

Bubble

Article 4 of the Kyoto Protocol allows a group of countries to meet their target listed in Annex B jointly by aggregating their total emissions under one bubble and sharing the burden depending on each individual country's circumstances and agreement within the bubble. The 15 nations that comprise the EU have agreed to aggregate and share their emissions commitments under one bubble for the first commitment period.

Budget Period

See Commitment Period

Buenos Aires Plan of Action

The Plan of Action agreed by governments at COP-4 held in Buenos Aires (November, 1998). The Plan of Action states the aim to resolve, by COP-6, a list of outstanding issues concerning the FCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, principally on the Kyoto Mechanisms and compliance.

The development and transfer of technology, compensation for adverse effects (of climate change itself and mitigation policies), and the status of projects under the Activities Implemented Jointly (AIJ) pilot programme are also included in the Plan of Action and require resolution by COP-6.

Burden Sharing

The Kyoto-Protocoll provides for bubbles, that allow a group of Annex-I countries to have an aggregate target. So far, the EU ist only group of countries that has announced its will form a bubble and defined an internal burden sharing, which is a reallocation of a bubble target among the member states of the bubble. The EU has done a burden sharing in 1998 that allows Portugal to increase its emissions by 27% while Germany have to reduce emissions by 21%.

Cap

See Emissions Cap

Capacity Building

A process of constructive interaction between developing countries and the private sector to help them develop the capability and skills needed to achieve environmentally sound forms of economic development. The process makes use of the private sector's modern technologies and management systems, in combination with a competent workforce and appropriate laws and regulations. Under current negotiations, capacity building should assist developing countries to build, develop, strengthen, enhance and improve their capabilities to achieve the objective of the Convention and their participation in the Kyoto Protocol process.

Carbon Cycle

The natural processes that govern the exchange of carbon (in the form of CO2, carbonates and organic compounds etc.) among the atmosphere, ocean and terrestrial systems.

Major components include

  • photosynthesis
  • respiration and decay between atmospheric and terrestrial systems (approximately 100 billiontonnes / year (gigatons)
  • thermodynamic invasion and evasion between the ocean and atmosphere
  • operation of the carbon pump
  • and mixing in the deep ocean (approx. 90 billion tonnes / year)
Deforestation and fossil fuel burning releases approximately 7 Gt into the atmosphere annually. The total carbon in the reservoirs is approximately 2000 Gt in land biota, soil and detritus, 730 Gt in the atmosphere and 38,000 Gt in the oceans. (Figures from IPCC Third Assessment Report 2001.) Over still longer periods, the geological processes of outgassing, volcanism, sedimentation and weathering are also important.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent

Every greenhouse gas can be converted in terms of its global warming potential to carbon dioxide (CO2). 1kg of methane (CH2), for example, corresponds to 21 kg of CO2 equivalent as per IPCC.

Carbon Dioxide Fertilization

Enhancement of plant growth or yield as a result of an increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2. Depending on their mechanism of photosynthesis, only certain types of plants are sensitive to CO2 fertilization.

Examples are all trees, nearly all plants of cold climates, and most agricultural crops, including wheat and rice, but excluding maize and sugar cane.

Carbon Dioxide, or CO2

A naturally occurring gas, it is also a by-product of burning fossil fuels and biomass, as well as land-use changes and other industrial processes. It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas that affects the earth's temperature.

It is the reference gas against which other GHGs are indexed and therefore has a Global Warming Potential (see below) of 1. Carbon dioxide constitutes approximately 0.036 per cent of the atmosphere. The mass ratio of carbon to carbon dioxide is 12 / 44.

Carbon Intensity

Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy or economic output.

Carbon Sequestration

The long-term storage of carbon or carbon dioxide in the forests, soils, ocean, or underground in depleted oiland gas reservoirs, coal seams and saline aquifers.

Examples include:

the separation and disposal of CO2 from flue gases or processing fossil fuels to produce H2 and carbon rich fractions; and the direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through land-use change, afforestation, reforestation, ocean fertilization, and agricultural practices to enhance soil carbon.

Carbon Sinks

Natural or man-made systems that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store them. Trees, plants and the oceans all absorb CO2 and, therefore, are carbon sinks.

CDM

See Clean Development Mechanism

CER

See 'Certified Emission Reduction Unit'

Certification organization / certifier

Independent third parties which must be accredited as certification organizations verify the reductions in emissions achieved. The reductions must comply with CDM criteria.

Certified Emission Reduction Unit, or CER

A CER represents a specified amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduction achieved through a Clean Development Mechanism project.

CFCs

See Chlorofluorocarbons

CH4

See Methane

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

Greenhouse gases covered under the 1987 Montreal Protocol used for refrigeration, air conditioning, packaging, insulation, solvents or aerosol propellants. Because they are not destroyed in the lower atmosphere, CFCs mix into the upper atmosphere where, given suitable conditions, they break down ozone. These gases are being replaced by other compounds including hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which are not covered in the Kyoto Protocol (due to their inclusion in the Montreal Protocol 1992) and hydrofluorocarbons(HFCs), which are greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol.

Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM

Defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, CDM projects undertaken in developing countries are intended to meet two objectives:

  1. to address the sustainable development needs of the host country; and
  2. to generate emissions credits that can be used to satisfy commitments on Annex I Parties and thus increase flexibility in where government Parties meet their reduction commitments.
Projects that limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions can earn the investor (government or industry) credits if approved by the CDM Executive Board.

A share of the proceeds from the project activities is to be used to cover administration costs, and to create an adaptation fund which will assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects from climate change to take action to adapt.

Climate Change (UNFCCC definition)

A change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability over comparable time periods.

Climate Convention

See UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC

Climate framework convention (UNFCCC, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was concluded at the UN Conference on the Environment and Development in June 1992 in Rio ("Global summit") and forms the basis for worldwide efforts to combat global warming. The parties participating in this climate convention are synonymous to the parties of the Kyoto Protocol. In the Kyoto Protocol, the Climate Framework Convention is simply referred to as "convention". The objective of the UNFCCC is to "stabilize greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

Climate System

The totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.

Climate-protection project

climate-protection project is a project-based mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gases. Climate-protection projects include but are not limited to Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism.

CO2

See Carbon Dioxide

Cogeneration

The use of waste heat from steam and or electricity generation, such as exhaust from gas turbines, for either industrial purposes or district heating.

Combined Cycle

Electricity generation where the waste heat of a gasturbine generator is used to heat water in a boiler to drive a steam-turbine generator, thereby increasing efficiency.

Commitment Period

To allow Parties some flexibility in when they meet their GHG emissions reduction obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the reduction target is applied to a 5-year period, known as the commitment period. The first commitment period will be 2008 - 12. Terms governing the nature of the second and subsequent periods are subject to future negotiation. The Kyoto Protocol calls for negotiations concerning the second period to commence by 2005.

Commitment Period Reserve

To prevent Annex B Parties from overselling allocations from their Assigned Amounts, some have proposed that a portion of the Assigned Amounts in their national registries should be kept in reserve during the commitment period.

Known as the Commitment Period Reserve, this portion could be a fixed percentage of the Assigned Amount or variable, depending on projected or recent emissions.

Compliance

Article 18 of the Kyoto Protocol relates to sanctions for non-compliance. Discussion of this article relates to the structure of a compliance committee, financial or other penalties for non-compliance, and whether non-compliance can only be assessed against Annex B emissions targets or other aspects of the Protocol or Convention.

Any binding consequences for non-compliance can only be adopted by an amendment to the Protocol (amendments can be proposed by any Party to the Protocol, but require ratification by three-quarters of the Parties to the Protocol).

Conference of the Parties, or COP

The supreme body of the UNFCCC, comprised of countries that have ratified or acceded to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The first session of the COP (COP-1) was held in Berlin in 1995

  • COP-2 in Geneva, 1996
  • COP-3 in Kyoto, 1997 and
  • COP-4 in Buenos Aires
  • COP-5 will be held in Bonn
See also COP / MOP and Meeting of Parties

COP / MOP

The Conference of Parties of the FCCC will serve as the MOP (Meeting Of Parties, the supreme body of the Kyoto Protocol) but only Parties to the Kyoto Protocol may participate in deliberations and make decisions.

Until the Protocol enters into force, the MOP cannot meet.

Countries in transition

The countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy but that are also classified along with the EU, Japan and the U.S. as Annex I parties to the UNFCCC.

Deforestation

The removal of forest stands by cutting and burning to provide land for agricultural purposes, residential or industrial building sites, roads, etc., or by harvesting the trees for building materials or fuel.

Demand-side Management

Policies and programmes designed to reduce consumer demand for electricity and other energy sources.

Desertification

The progressive destruction or degradation of vegetative cover, especially in arid or semi-arid regions bordering existing deserts. Overgrazing of rangelands, largescale cutting of forests and woodlands, drought, burning of extensive areas and climate changes all serve to destroy or degrade the vegetation cover.

Developing countries

Some countries have adopted the Framework Convention on Climate Change or the Kyoto Protocol but are not listed in Annex I of the Convention or Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol and thus have not accepted any reduction commitment. These so-called non-Annex I countries are countries still undergoing industrialization, i.e. countries which count as developing countries.

Early Crediting

Article 12 on the Clean Development Mechanism indicates that early crediting will be given for CDM projects undertaken between 2000 and 2008.

These credits can be used to assist in achieving compliance in the first commitment period.

Earth Summit, or UN Conference onEnvironment and Development (UNCED)

The Earth Summit was held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at which the climate treaty, or UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was signed by more than 150 countries.

See Rio+10

Ecosystem

The interacting system of a biological community and its non-living environmental surroundings

Emission credit

Emission credits are created as emission reductions from climate change project. They are tradable and the owner is allowed to emit additional to the allocated assigned amounts of emissions an allowances respectively.

Emissions (UNFCCC definition)

The release of greenhouse gases and / or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time.

Emissions Cap

A mandated restraint, in a scheduled time frame, that puts a 'ceiling' on the total amount of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that can be released into the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol mandate scaps on the GHG emissions released by Annex B, or developed countries.

Emissions reduction

Emissions reduction means that a reduction in the release of greenhouse gases is achieved within a system or project by means of measures that have already been taken or will be taken. Emissions reduction units (ERUs or CERs) achieved within the scope of climate-protection projects (JI or CDM) can be transferred or traded.

Emissions Reduction Unit, or ERU

The ERU represents a specified amount of greenhouse gas emissions reductions achieved through a Joint Implementation project or as the unit of trade in greenhouse gas emissions trading systems.

Emissions Trading (ET)

A market-based approach to achieving environmental objectives that allows those reducing GHG emissions below what is required to use or trade the excess reductions to offset emissions at another source inside or outside the country. In general, trading can occur at the domestic, international and intra-company levels. Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows Annex B countries to exchange emissions obligations. Negotiations will determine the extent to which firms and others may be allowed to participate. International emissions trading constitutes one of the Kyoto Mechanisms, designed to provide Annex B countries cost-effective flexibility in reducing emissions to achieve their agreed commitments.

ERU

See Emissions Reduction Unit

Executive Board (EB)

Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol calls for the establishment of an Executive Board to supervise the CDM. The Executive Board could be subject to the authority and guidance of the COP / MOP.

It could be responsible for the following:

  • accrediting operational entities
  • maintaining the CDM Reference Manual
  • developing and maintaining information on CDM project activities which should be publicly available
  • reviewing the geographical distribution of CDM projects
  • recommending what types of projects should be included or excluded from the CDM
  • levying a share from the proceeds of CDM projects
  • and issuing the CERs generated by CDM projects

Flaring

The burning of gas which cannot be contained or used productively. In some cases, when associated natural gas is released along with oil from production fields remote from energy users, the gas is burned off as it escapes, primarily for safety reasons. Some flaring may also occur in the processing of oil and gas. The IPCC Guidelines classify emissions from flaring as fugitive emissions.

Flexibility Mechanism

See Kyoto Mechanisms

Flexibility Mechanisms

Flexibility Mechanisms, also referred to as Kyoto Mechanisms, are the market-based instruments contained in the Kyoto Protocol. They include Joint Implementation, Clean Development Mechanism, Emissions Trading.

Focal Point

Official person responsible for accreditation of AIJ project, mostly high-ranking bureaucrat of a national ministry. Focal points are listed by the UNFCCC.

Forest

Key to the identification of Kyoto lands is a definition of forest that is consistent for all Parties. This definition is critical to the accounting of sources and sinks under the Kyoto Protocol (Articles 3.3 & 3.4). There are many definitions of forest, based on land-use status (administrative / cultural records) or a minimum threshold of canopy cover and / or tree height. None, however, were specifically designed for carbon accounting as required under the Protocol. This definition and the implications of using different definitions are addressed in detail in Chapter 3 of the IPCC Special Report on LULUCF.

Forest Management

Forest management is the application of biological, physical, quantitative, managerial, social and policy principles to the regeneration, tending, utilization and conversion of forests to meet specified goals and objectives while maintaining forest productivity. Management intensity spans the range from wilderness set-asides to short-rotation woody cropping systems. Forest management encompasses the full cycle of regeneration, tending, protection, harvest, utilization and access.

(From IPCC Special Report LULUCF.)

Fossil Fuels

Carbon-based fuels formed in the ground over very long periods, including coal, oil and natural gas.

Fuel Cell

An electrochemical device, like a battery, that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. The source of hydrogen can be either pure hydrogen or a number of other fuels (such as methanol or other hydrocarbons) which are first converted to hydrogen and carbon dioxid (CO2).

Fuel Switching

Supplying energy services using different fuels.

Often used to refer to actions that reduce CO2 emissions from electric utilities by switching from coal to natural gas.

Fungibility

Fungibility refers to the possibility that one unit/product, or a unit of a currency, can be exchanged for, or replaced by another. The negotiations on fungibility relate to whether emissions units are freely exchangeable, i.e. whether an ERU is exactly equivalent to an AAU / PAA or CER.

GEF

See Global Environment Facility

GHG

See Greenhouse Gases

Global Environment Facility, or GEF

A joint funding programme established by developed countries to meet their obligations under various international environmental treaties. GEF serves as the interim financial mechanism for the UNFCCC, inparticular to cover the cost of reporting by non-Annex I countries. It provides funds to complement traditional development assistance by covering the additional or agreed incremental costs incurred by non-Annex I countries, when a national, regional or global development project also targets global environmental objectives such as those which address biodiversity.

Global warming

The view that the earth's temperature is being increased, in part due to emissions of greenhouse gases associated with human activities such as burning fossil fuels, biomass burning, cement manufacture, cow and sheep rearing, deforestation and other land-use changes.

Global warming potential, or GWP

A time dependent index used to compare the radiative forcing, on a mass basis, of an impulse of a specific greenhouse gas relative to that of CO2. Gases included in the Kyoto Protocol are weighted in the first commitment period according to their GWP over a 100-year time horizon as published in the 1995 Second Assessment Report of the IPCC. In that report, a kilogram of methane, for example has a radiative force of about 21times greater than that of a kilogram of CO2.

The GWP of CO2 is defined as 1, thus methane has a GWP of 21over the 100-year time horizon.

Grandfathering

A method used to allocate emissions credits to companies or other legal entities based on their emissions levels at a certain point in the past (such as 1990). Those companies which have reduced their emissions since that point in the past (e.g. through efficiency gains or by shutting down operations) could potentially be rewarded under this process of allocation. Companies established after the baseline date (and therefore having zero emissions at that time) would not receive any emissions credits if this method of allocation is used alone.

Alternative emissions credit allocation methods include auctioning which would be similar to emissions taxation, and free allocation based on negotiation.

Greenhouse Effect

The trapping of heat by naturally occurring heat-retaining atmospheric gases (water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and ) that keeps the earth about 30° C (60° F) warmer than if these gases did not exist.

Greenhouse Gases, or GHGs

Gases in the earth's atmosphere that absorb and re-emit infra-red radiation. These gases occur through both natural and human-influenced processes. The major GHG is water vapour. The Kyoto-Protocol includes the following GHGs: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs, SF6

GWP

See Global Warming Potential

HFCs

See Hydrofluorcarbons

Hot Air

A few countries, notably Russia and the Ukraine, have emissions allocations under the Kyoto Protocol that appear to be well in excess of their anticipated emissions in the first commitment period (as a result of economic downturn since the baseline year of 1990). The potentially excess allocation is referred to as hot air. Under the Kyoto Protocol it could be traded with other Parties.

Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs

Among the six greenhouse gases to be controlled in the Kyoto Protocol 'basket of gases'. They are produced commercially as a substitute for Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HFCs are largely used in refrigeration and insulating foam. Their Global Warming Potentials range from 140 to 11,700 times that of CO2, depending on the HFC.

IEA

See International Engergy Agency

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC

Panel established in 1988 by governments under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme.

It prepares assessments, reports and guidelines on:

  • the science of climatechange and its potential environmental,
  • economic and social impacts;
  • technological developments;
  • possible national and international responses to climate change;
  • and cross-cutting issues.
It provides advice to the UNFCCC's Conference of the Parties.

It is currently organized into 3 Working Groups which address:
  1. Science;
  2. Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and
  3. Mitigation.
There is also a Working Group to address GHG Inventories.

International Energy Agency, or IEA

Paris-based organization formed in 1973, it now has a membership of 25 countries (OECD members).
The IEA's original purpose was to manage future oil supply shortfalls.
They have also agreed to share energy information, to coordinate their energy policies and to cooperate in the development of energy programmes.

Today the core mission of the IEA remains unchanged, but it has extended its activities to include providing energy statistics and other information and analysis worldwide, as well as reporting regularly on the energy policies of its Member States and those of selected non-Members.

Inventories

Countries are required to submit regularly an inventory of their GHG emissions. The IPCC has provided guidance on how to estimate and report on anthropogenic GHG emissions and removals, using a standardized tabular reporting format for six major sectors:

  • energy
  • industrial processes
  • solvents and other product use
  • agriculture
  • land-use change and forestry
  • and waste
In addition to a sector-by-sector approach of summing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion, the IPCC requires that, as a check, a top-down approach be used to calculate emissions based on national fuel consumption data. A range of companies and associations are also preparing GHG inventories and the methodologies to calculate them.

Joint Implementation, or JI

Jointly implemented projects that limit or reduce emissions or enhance sinks are permitted among developed countries under Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol. JI activity is also permitted in Article 4.2 (a) of the FCCC, between all Parties. As defined in the Kyoto Protocol JI would allow developed countries, or companies from those countries, to cooperate on projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and share the emissions reduction units (ERUs). As JI occurs between Annex B countries (who have emissions caps), no new emissions units are generated (unlike the case with projects under the Clean Development Mechanism). JI can be viewed as an investment for ERUs swap.

See also Activities Implemented Jointly

Kyoto Lands

The Kyoto Protocol describes land use, land-use change and forestry activities that require or allow the net GHG emissions from sinks to be accounted for by Parties in meeting their emission reduction commitments. The lands on which these activities take place are designated as Kyoto lands (as defined in the IPCC draft report on LULUCF).

Kyoto Mechanisms (formerly known as Flexibility Mechanisms)

Procedures that allow Annex I Parties to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol based on actions outside their own borders. As potentially marketbased mechanisms they have the potential to reduce the economic impacts of greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements.

They include:

Kyoto Protokol

The Protocol, drafted during the Berlin Mandate process, that, on entry into force, would require countries listed in its Annex B (developed nations) to meet differentiated reduction targets for their emissions of a 'basket' of greenhouse gases relative to 1990 levels by 2008 - 12. It was adopted by all Parties to the Climate Convention in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.

Leakage

Leakage are indirect effects of emission reduction projects or policies that lead to a rise in emission elsewhere. E.g. fossil fuel substitution leads to a decline in fuel prices an rise in fuel use elsewhere. In the case of CDM / JI projects in both forestry an energy sectors, leakage can be a result or unexpected effects including unforeseen circumstances, improperly defined baseline, improperly defined project lifetime or project boundaries, and inappropriate project design.

Least Developed Countries, or LDCs

An informal group of countries defined using a number of parameters including per capita GDP. Under current proposals, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States would gain special consideration for adaptation and Convention funding, technology transfer, capacity building and the CDM.

Liability

Liability relates to the consequences falling on parties involved in a transaction that were the result of overselling of some party's Assigned Amount.

A number of options have been proposed, for example:

  • the (over)seller is liable and would pay the penalty for noncompliance
  • the buyer is liable and the trade would be unwound, returning the AAUs to the overseller
  • or other hybrid options where liability is shared.

LULUCF

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

See ARD-Activities and Kyoto Lands

Marginal abatement costs, or MAC

Costs of preventing the emission of an extra ton of greenhouse gas from the current level.

Meeting Of the Parties (to the Kyoto Protocol), or MOP

Supreme body of the Kyoto Protocol, which can only convene after the Protocol enters into force. Only the MOP can make amendments to the Protocol.

Methane Recovery

Method by which methane emissions from, for example, coal mines or waste sites, are captured and then re-used either through cost-effective management methods or through power generation.

Methane, or CH4

One of the basket of six greenhouse gases to be controlled under the Kyoto Protocol, it has a relatively short atmospheric lifetime of 10 ±2 years.

Primary sources of methane are:

  • landfills
  • coal mines
  • paddyfields
  • natural gas systems
  • and livestock.
The SAR (1995) estimate of the Global Warming Potential of methane is 21, over a 100-year time horizon.

See Global Warming Potential

Methodology

The term methodology will always relate to prospective CDM projects or project types. An acknowledged methodology serves as an unparticular baseline for a certain project type.
The methodology will describe why a prospective CDM project or project type actually mitigates emissions in comparison to the business as usual case. A general baseline is estimated indicating, what emissions would have occured without the project activity.
In this context, the project owner will have to prove why the activity would not have been undertaken anyway.

Monitoring

Surveillance of climate-protection projects or companies is conducted by means of the so-called monitoring procedure. Actual emissions or the reductions in emissions are determined by measuring, reviewing and recording.

Montreal Protocol

International agreement under UNEP which entered into force in January 1989 to phase out the use of ozone-depleting compounds such as

  • CFCs
  • halons
  • methyl chloroform
  • carbon tetrachloride
  • HCFCs
  • and methyl bromide

National Action Plans

Plans submitted to the Conference of the Parties (COP) by all Parties outlining the steps that they have adopted to limit their anthropogenic GHG emissions. Countries must submit these plans as a condition of participating in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and, subsequently, must communicate their progress to the COP regularly. The National Action Plans form part of the National Communications which include the national inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) sources and sinks.

Nennwärmeleistung

Nennwärmeleistung ist die vom Hersteller festgelegte und im Dauerbetrieb unter Beachtung des vom Hersteller angegebenen Wirkungsgrades als einhaltbar garantierte größte Wärmeleistung in Kilowatt.

Nitrous Oxide, or N2O

One of the basket of six greenhouse gases to be controlled under the Kyoto Protocol, it is generated by burning fossil fuels and the manufacture of fertilizer.

It has a Global Warming Potential of 310 over a 100-year time horizon.

See Global Warming Potential

Non-Annex B Parties

The countries that are not included in the Annex B list of developed nations in the Kyoto Protocol.

Non-Annex I Parties

The countries that have ratified or acceded to the UNFCCC that are not included in Annex I of the Convention.

No-Regrets measures

Policies, projects and measures that reduce GHG emissions which have no net cost or may even provide economic savings (also from environmental side-effects as reduction of local pollutants); an example might be mandating standards for more energy-efficient appliances and automobils.

Operational Entities

Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol calls for the creation of operational entities that would be responsible for validating proposed CDM project activity as well as verifying and certifying the emissions reductions or removals achieved. They would be accountable to the Executive Board and ultimately the COP / MOP.

Ozone

Ozone (O3) is a greenhouse gas. In the troposphere, or lower part of the atmosphere, O3 can be a constituent of smogs. It is created naturally and also by reactions in the atmosphere involving gases resulting from human activities, including NOx, or nitrogen oxides, from motor vehicles and power plants. The Montreal Protocol seeks to control chemicals which destroy ozone in the stratosphere (upper part of the atmosphere) where ozone absorbs ultra-violet radiation.

Perfluorocarbons, or PFCs

One of the basket of the six greenhouse gases to be controlled under the Kyoto Protocol. They are a by-product of aluminum smelting. They also are the replacement for CFCs in manufacturing semiconductors.

The Global Warming Potential of PFCs ranges from 6,500 - 9,200 over a 100-year time horizon.

See Global Warming Potential

period 2005-2007 of EU-Emissions Trading Scheme

The three-year period beginning 1 January 2005 in which the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme should work.

PFCs

See Perfluorocarbons

Primary Market & Secondary Market Trading

In commodities and financial exchanges, buyers and sellers who trade directly with each other constitute the primary market, while buying and selling through the exchange facilities represent the secondary market.

Public Participation

Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol does not mention public (or NGO) participation in the CDM project approval process, but many countries have proposed that it be part of the process. The criteria for, and the timing of, public participation (i.e. whether public consultation should occur prior to project approval and then again prior to the issuance of credits) is a concern for some governments. Some have argued that while public participation is necessary, there are existing structures for this process during project planning such as the EIA procedures, and that the CDM should operate within these existing structures.

Reforestation

The act or process of re-establishing a forest on land that had been deforested in relatively recent history.

Renewables

Energy sources that are constantly renewed by natural process. These include non-carbon technologies such as solar energy, hydropower and wind as well as technologies based on biomass. Life cycle analyses are required to assess the extent to which such biomass-based technologies may limit net carbon emissions.

Reservoir

A component or components of the climate system where a greenhouse gas or a precursor of a greenhouse gas is stored (UNFCCC definition).

Carbon reservoirs are

  • the oceans
  • soils
  • and forests

Rio Summit

See UN Conference on Environment and Development

Rio+10

Rio+10 will be a special meeting of the UN General Assembly in 2002 to highlight the tenth anniversary of the Rio Summit. The agenda for this meeting is under development. Unlike the Rio Summit, it is unlikely that the Governments will negotiate new conventions. The meeting will be held in South Africa.

Secretariat of the UN Framework Conventionon Climate Change

United Nations administrative and clerical staff assigned the responsibility of conducting the affairs of the UNFCCC. In 1996 the Secretariat moved from Geneva, Switzerland to Bonn, Germany.

SF6

See Sulphur Hexafluoride

Sinks (UNFCCC definition)

Any process or activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas or a precursor from the atmosphere.

small-scale projects

smaller CDM-project activities like

  • Renewable energy projects with a maximum output capacity < 15 MW
  • Energy efficiency improvement projects which reduce energy consumption up to 15 GWh/a
  • Other projects that both reduce anthropogenic emissions by sources that directly emit < 15000 t CO2eq

Source (UNFCCC definition)

Any process or activity which releases a greenhouse gas or a precursor GHG to the atmosphere.

Subsidiary Body for Implementation, or SBI

Established as a permanent standing body of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the SBI develops recommendations to assist the Conference of the Parties in assessing and reviewing the implementation of the Climate Convention.

Sulphur Dioxide (or SO2) Trading

To mitigate the US acid rain problem in a cost-efficient manner, the US government, under its Clean Air Act, mandated an SO2 emissions trading programme. This trading system is often cited as the model for an international Emissions Trading Programme proposed under the Kyoto Protocol to curb the world's anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Sulphur Hexafluoride, or SF6

One of the six greenhouse gases to be curbed under the Kyoto Protocol. It is largely used in heavy industry to insulate high-voltage equipment and to assist in the manufacturing of cable-cooling systems. Its Global Warming Potential is 23,900 times that of CO2

Supplementarity

The Kyoto Protocol states that Emissions Trading and Joint Implementation activities are to be supplemental to domestic actions (e.g., energy taxes, fuel efficiency standards, etc.) taken by developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Under some proposed definitions of supplementarity, e.g., a concrete ceiling on level of use, developed countries could be restricted in their use of the Kyoto Mechanisms to achieve their reduction targets. This is a subject for further negotiation and clarification by the Parties.

Sustainable development

The term 'sustainable development' means to manage resources such as to satisfy current requirements while at the same time safeguarding an environment in which future generations can enjoy the same level of prosperity.

Targets and Timetables

A target is the reduction of a specific percentage of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (e.g., 6 per cent, 7 per cent) from a base year (e.g., 'below 1990 levels') to be achieved by a set date, or timetable (e.g., 2008 - 12). For example, under the Kyoto Protocol's formula, the EU has agreed to reduce its GHG emissions to 8 per cent below 1990 levels by the 2008 - 12 commitment period. These targets and timetables are, in effect, a cap on the total amount of GHG emissions that can be emitted by a country or region in a given time period.

Trace Gas

A minor constituent of the atmosphere.

The most important trace gases having an influence to the climate system are:

UN Conference on Trade and Development, or UNCTAD

Established in 1964 by the UN General Assembly, UNCTAD is the principal organ of the UN General Assembly in the field of trade and development. Its main goals are to maximize trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries.

UNCTAD pursues its goals through

  • research
  • policy analysis
  • IGO deliberations
  • technical cooperation
  • and interaction with the business sector
UNCTAD has had a longstanding programme that is examining international emissions trading.

Since 1991 it has produced publications on key parameters such as
  • cost-efficiency
  • equity
  • monitoring certification and enforcement,
  • and legal and institutional aspects

UN Development Programme or UNDP

The purpose of UNDP is to assist countries (particularly those with a low per capita income) to achieve sustainable development.

UNDP focuses on

  • poverty elimination
  • environmental regeneration
  • job creation
  • and the advancement of women
It also assists in promoting sound governance and market development. Its work is achieved with a core budget of about US $ 800 M used to fund projects in developing countries. UNDP is a managing partner of the Global Environment Facility, along with UNEP and the World Bank.

UN Environment Programme, or UNEP

The UN agency, established in 1972, to coordinate the environmental activities of the UN. It aims to help reinforce and integrate the large number of separate environmental efforts by intergovernmental, non-governmental, national and regional bodies. UNEP has fostered the development of the UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

UN Framework Convention on ClimateChange, or UNFCCC

A treaty signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries. Its ultimate objective is the 'stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system'. While no legally binding level of emissions is set, the treaty states an aim by Annex I countries to return these emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The treaty took effect in March 1994 upon the ratification of more than 50 countries; a total of over 180 nations have now ratified. In March 1995, the UNFCCC held the first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) the supreme body of the Convention in Berlin. Its Secretariat is based in Bonn, Germany.

UNCED

See Earth Summit

UNCTAD

See UN Conference on Trade and Development

UNDP

See UN Development Programme

UNEP

See UN Environment Programme

Validation

Validation of a climate-protection project by an internationally accredited, independent certification body is crucial to a project's being approved as a climate-protection project and thus being able to generate emissions certificates later on. The validation process verifies whether the criteria pertaining to climate-protection projects are satisfied.

Verification

Prior to the issue of tradable emissions certificates, reductions in emissions must be monitored and their validity verified by an accredited certifier.