Glossary of terms
Afforestation and reforestation. Term given to the class of projects devoted to the planting of trees on unforested land for carbon emissions reduction and other environmental benefits. Under the Kyoto Protocol and the CDM, afforestation and reforestation activities are defined by strict definitions and rules. Source: Carbon Positive
Reducing the degree or intensity of greenhouse-gas emissions. Source: UNFCCC
All living biomass above the soil including stem, stump, branches, bark, seeds, and foliage. Source: IPCC
An act whereby a State becomes a Party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other States; has the same legal effect as ratification. Source: UNFCCC
Comparing reported GHG emissions and removals with commitments made to reduce such GHG emissions.
Accredited independent entity (AIE)
Independent auditors that assess whether a potential project meets all the eligibility requirements of the JI (determination) and whether the project has achieved greenhouse gas emission reductions (verification). They are accredited by the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) to perform these functions, according to their expertise. Source: JI Rulebook, Baker and McKenzie
Activities implemented jointly (AIJ)
Activities carried out under the Convention to mitigate climate change through partnerships between an investor from a developed country and a counterpart in a host country under a pilot phase that ended in the year 2000. The purpose was to involve private-sector money in the transfer of technology and know-how. Source: UNFCCC
Data on the magnitude of human activity resulting in emissions or removals taking place during a given period of time. Source: UNFCCC
Ad hoc Working Group on further commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)
The AWG-KP was established by Parties to the Protocol in Montreal in 2005 to consider further commitments of industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period beyond 2012. Source: UNFCCC
Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA)
The AWG-LCA was established in Bali in 2007 to conduct negotiations on a strengthened international deal on climate change. Source: UNFCCC
Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Source: UNFCCC
Fund established in January 2002 (COP7, Marrakesh) to help least developed countries (LDCs) meet the cost of adaptation to climate change. The Fund is financed mainly through a levy of 2% of the certified emission reductions of all CDM projects except those implemented in LDCs.
GHG emissions reductions are additional (above and beyond) what would have typically happened in a “business as usual” scenario, i.e. in the absence of the project. This is an offset project requirement under the Kyoto Protocol and some voluntary market standards.
Tool developed by the CDM Executive Board to demonstrate and assess whether a project is additional or not. It is not mandatory to use this specific tool.
Direct human-induced conversion of land that has not been forested for a period of at least 50 years to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed sources. Source: CDM Rulebook
Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU)
The land use sector that sequesters or absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used on the same land-management units as agricultural crops and/or animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems there are both ecological and economic interactions between the different components. Source: World Agroforestry Centre
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
An ad hoc coalition of low-lying and island countries. These nations are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and share common positions on climate change. Source: UNFCCC
The distribution of emissions permits or allowances to participants in an emissions trading scheme. Allocation can be done for free or by selling the allowances (see auctioning). Principles for free allocation include grandfathering, benchmarking and projections. Source: Point Carbon
Legally defined unit issued by regulators under cap-and-trade schemes that entitles the holder to emit one tonne of CO2e. Also known as emission allowance or emissions permit. Examples include AAUs under the Kyoto Protocol, EUAs in the EU ETS, and NZUs in the NZ ETS. Source: Point Carbon
A modification by the COP to the text of the Convention. If consensus cannot be reached, an amendment must win three-quarters of the votes of all Parties present and casting ballots. Source: UNFCCC
American Carbon Registry (ACR)
Founded in 1997 by Environmental Defense Fund and currently operated by Winrock International, ACR allows its members to buy, sell, hold, and retire project-based carbon offsets as well as report verified organizational GHG inventories. The Registry accepts projects from around the globe and recognizes standards that meet its published additionality and eligibility criteria. Source: Point Carbon
Annex B Parties
The 39 emissions-capped industrialised countries and economies in transition listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol. Legally-binding emission reduction obligations for Annex B countries range from an 8% decrease to a 10% increase on 1990 levels by the first commitment period of the Protocol, 2008–2012. Source: CORE
Annex I Parties
The 36 industrialized countries and economies in transition listed in Annex 1 of the UNFCCC. Their responsibilities under the Convention are various, and include a non-binding commitment to reducing their GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. Source: CORE
Made or caused by human activity. Global warming resulting from human emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through fossil fuel use, industrial and agricultural activities, and deforestation. As different from global warming resulting from natural variations and shifts in temperature and other factors.
Approved Consolidated Methodology (ACM)
Large-scale methodology to calculate emission reductions for a project consolidated from a number of approved methodologies and approved for use by the CDM Executive Board. Source: CDM pipeline
Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP)
The Asia-Pacific climate pact was set up as a rival international climate change agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Its initiators in 2005 were the United States and Australia, the only two industrialised nations not to have ratified the Kyoto treaty at that time (Australia since ratified in 2007). The group also includes China, India, Japan, South Korea and Canada. APP rejected Kyoto-style emission reduction targets in favour of encouraging business to invest in cleaner fossil-fuel technology and renewable energy. The pact now has little relevance after political backing faded in the late 2000s. Source: Carbon Positive
Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32)
See Global Warming Solutions Act
Assigned Amount (AA)
The amount of greenhouse gas an Annex B country is allowed to emit during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
Assigned Amount Unit (AAU)
A tradable unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent issued to Annex B countries under the Kyoto Protocol. AAUs are issued up to the level of the country's Assigned Amount.
Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR)
Assisting an area to regrow into a native forest through natural processes. ANR actions can include land preparation, catalytic planting, fencing to keep out grazing animals and many other.
Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are usually expressed in parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb). For example, atmospheric CO2 emissions have risen from approximately 280ppm to 385ppm in the last 250 years. The atmospheric concentration of a particular GHG can be estimated by either direct measurement via air samples or through modelling. Source: CORE
Common term used for the sale of allowances, as opposed to allocating them for free. See also Allocation. Source: Point Carbon
Stopping deforestation that is likely to occur in an area through specific actions such as policy changes, carbon incentives and other.