Originating from the activity of humans.
The study of the chemical processes and compounds occurring in living
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
Biofuels are non-fossil fuels. They are energy carriers that
store the energy derived from organic materials (biomass), including plant
materials and animal waste.
They may be solid, such as fuelwood, charcoal and wood pellets; liquid, such
as ethanol, biodiesel and pyrolysis oils; or gaseous, such as biogas.
The total quantity or mass of organic
material produced by living organisms in a particular area, at a given time.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2)
A colorless, odorless, non-combustible gas, present in low concentrations in
the air we breathe (about three hundredths of one percent by volume).
Carbon dioxide is produced when any substance containing carbon is burned. It
is also a product of breathing and fermentation. Plants absorb carbon dioxide
(Source: The Pacific Forest Trust
- Climate change
The long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other
aspects of the Earth's climate.
It is also defined by the United Nations Convention on Climate Change as
“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 observed over comparable time periods”
- Fossil fuel(s)
A general term for buried combustible geologic deposits of organic materials,
formed from decayed plants and animals that have been converted to crude oil,
coal, natural gas, or heavy oils by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's
crust over hundreds of millions of years.
Glossary of Climate Change terms
- Greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both
natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and
emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation
emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds.
This property causes the greenhouse effect.
Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2),
nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and
ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases
in the Earth’s atmosphere. Moreover there are a number of entirely human-made
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other
chlorine and bromine containing substances,
dealt with under the Montreal Protocol. Beside CO2, N2O and CH4, the
Kyoto Protocol deals with the greenhouse gases
sulphur hexafluoride (SF6),
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
- Gross Domestic Product
The total market value of goods and services produced within a nation during a
given period (usually 1 year).
- Hybrid vehicle
A vehicle that utilizes both an electrical motor and a gas- or diesel-powered
engine which work in tandem to decrease fuel consumption.
MCI's Go Green Glossary
- IEA scenarios
The International Energy Agency has
developped a number of scenarios that describe the efforts needed to reduce
carbon dioxide emissions. The "business-as-usual" Baseline scenario foreshadows
the situation in the absence of policy change and major supply constraints
leading to increases in oil demand and CO2 emissions.
Other scenarios explore different technological pathways to achieve emission
reductions, and, the "Energy technology perspectives" report groups the
scenarios into two main subgroups, depending on emission reduction objectives:
The "ACT" scenarios bring back CO2 emissions to
2005 levels by 2050 through a number of technological developpments.
The "BLUE" scenarios are more ambitious, bringing emissions
at 50% of the 2005 level by 2050. This implies of course higher investment
costs, but also greater needs in technological and policy developments.
(Source: GreenFacts, based on
Energy Technology Perspectives 2008
- Institute for environmental assessment
"IEA is committed to provide practical, cost-sensitive environmental engineering counsel and worker protection guidelines for private and public organizations."
(Source: IEA )
- Institute for the encouragement of Scientific Research and Innovation of Brussels
"ISRIB, which was instituted by the Brussels decree of 26 June 2003, began its activites on 1st July 2004.
The mission of the Institute is to promote, support and valorize scientific research and technological innovation in the Brussels-Capital Region.
This task consists principally in funding research projects undertaken within the companies, the universities and the higher education institutes located in the Region."
(Source: ISRIB website )
- Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)
Power plant using gas produced from high-sulfur coal, heavy petroleum residues
IGCC is an advanced power generation technology which allows to reduce
emissions of NOx,
particulate matter and improve fuel
efficiency of coal.
It is a combination of two technologies.
- coal gasification, which uses coal to create a clean-burning gas
- combined-cycle, which is the most efficient method of producing
electricity from gas commercially available today (a gas turbine
generator generates electricity and the waste heat is used to make steam
to generate additional electricity via a steam turbine).
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been
established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic
information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential
impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
IPCC publications are prepared by three Working Groups (WG I, II and III)
composed of hundreds of scientists from many countries. The IPCC's Fourth
Assessment Report (4AR), published in 2007, is available at
The "Summaries for Policymakers" by the three Working Groups, which were used
as the source for the GreenFacts Digest on Climate Change (2007), can be found
The IPCC's previous report on climate change, the 2001 Third Assessment Report
(TAR), was also summarised by GreenFacts
(click here for the Digest).
In 2007, the IPCC shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore "for their efforts
to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and
to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such
- International Energy Agency
"The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an
intergovernmental organisation which acts as energy policy advisor to 28 member
countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for
Founded during the oil crisis of 1973-74, the IEA’s initial role was to
co-ordinate measures in times of oil supply emergencies. As energy markets have
changed, so has the IEA. Its mandate has broadened to incorporate the “Three
E’s” of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development and
environmental protection. Current work focuses on climate change policies,
market reform, energy technology collaboration and outreach to the rest of the
world, especially major consumers and producers of energy like China, India,
Russia and the OPEC countries.
With a staff of around 190, mainly energy experts and statisticians from its
28 member countries, the IEA conducts a broad programme of energy research, data
compilation, publications and public dissemination of the latest energy policy
analysis and recommendations on good practices."
Methane is a colorless, flammable, nontoxic gas with the chemical formula
This gas is formed naturally by the decomposition of
organic matter. Wetlands, livestock and
energy are the main sources of methane emissions to the
atmosphere, where it acts as a
Methane is also a major component of natural gas. It is mainly extracted from
geological deposits for fuel and industrial uses
(Source: GreenFacts )
Nanotechnology is the science of designing, producing, and using structures
and devices having one or more dimensions of about 100 millionth of a millimetre
(100 nanometres) or less.
- Supercritical & Ultra-supercritical technology
Conventional coal-fired power plants, which make water boil to generate steam
that activates a turbine, have efficiency of about 32%.
Supercritical (SC) and ultra-supercritical (USC) power plants operate at
temperatures and pressures above the critical point of water, i.e. above the
temperature and pressure at which the liquid and gas phases of water coexist in
equilibrium, at which point there is no difference between water gas and liquid
water. This results in higher efficiencies – above 45%.
Supercritical (SC) and ultra -supercritical (USC) power plants require less
coal per megawatt-hour, leading to lower emissions (including carbon dioxide and
mercury), higher efficiency and lower fuel costs per megawatt.
(Source: GreenFacts, based on
Indo German Energy Programme
A characteristic or state whereby the needs of the present and local
population can be met without compromising
the ability of future generations or populations in other locations to meet
- Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
"Poverty reduction and sustainable development are the principal tasks of the SDC. To facilitate the achievement of these goals, the SDC focuses on various thematic priorities. In each thematic domain, a sub-goal is targeted while ever keeping in mind the fact that the priority themes are intimately linked to one another."
(Source: SDC website )
A pattern of change over time, over and above short-term fluctuations.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
"The mission of GRID-Arendal is to provide environmental information, communications and capacity building services for information management and assessment. Established to strengthen the United Nations through its Environment Programme (UNEP), our focus is to make credible, science-based knowledge understandable to the public and to decision-making for sustainable development.
GRID-Arendal provides analysis and supports communication on issues such as climate change, environment and poverty, environment and security, the urban environment and sustainable development through education."
(Source: UNEP/GRID-Arendal website )
- Zero energy building
General term applied to a building that produces as much energy, or more
energy, than it uses and therefore has a net energy consumption of zero over a
typical year. To do so, zero-energy buildings make use of renewable energies
such as solar energy.
Zero energy buildings are gaining considerable interest as a means to cut
greenhouse gas emissions and conserve energy.
In the European Union and in the USA, buildings account for 40% of total
(Source: GreenFacts )