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Acronyms, Definitions, Glossary Relative to
Climate Awareness Era and Carbon Offset Credits Topic

A core glossary is a simple glossary or defining dictionary which enables definition of other concepts, especially for newcomers to a language or field of study. It contains a small working vocabulary and definitions for important or frequently encountered concepts, usually including idioms or metaphors useful in a culture.


Greenhouse debt or carbon debt is the measure to which an individual person, incorporated association, business enterprise, government instrumentality, or geographic community, exceeds its permitted greenhouse footprint (ecological footprint) and contributes greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. It compares human demand with planet Earth's ecological capacity to regenerate. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle. For 2006, humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.4 planet Earths – in other words, humanity uses ecological services 1.4 times as fast as Earth can renew them. Every year, this number is recalculated — with a three year lag due to the time it takes for the UN to collect and publish all the underlying statistics.

The concept makes no sense without a clear numerical value for the permitted greenhouse (ecological) footprint. It is not as yet clear what this value is.

The greenhouse debt assessment thus forms an ecological footprint analysis, but can be used separately. Taken conjointly with a water debt analysis and an ecological impact assessment, greenhouse debt analysis is basic to giving individuals, organisations, governments and communities an understanding of the effects they are having on Gaia, life, global warming and the resulting climate change. Ensuring that the greenhouse debt is zero is essential towards achieving Ecologically Sustainable Development or a sustainable retreat. Any greenhouse debt incurred will contribute to making life harder for the future generations of humans and non-human lifeforms to come. There are three possible consequences that occur as a result of a greenhouse debt. They are either:

RE:Greenhouse Debt

Ecological Footprint

Carbon Dioxide Sink

Clean Development Mechanism

The World Resources Institute defines a carbon offset as "a unit of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) that is reduced, avoided, or sequestered to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere".

The Collins English Dictionary defines a carbon offset as "a compensatory measure made by an individual or company for carbon emissions, usually through sponsoring activities or projects which increase carbon dioxide absorption, such as tree planting."

The Environment Protection Authority of Victoria (Australia) defines a carbon offset as: "a monetary investment in a project or activity elsewhere that abates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sequesters carbon from the atmosphere that is used to compensate for GHG emissions from your own activities. Offsets can be bought by a business or individual in the voluntary market (or within a trading scheme), a carbon offset usually represents one tonne of CO2-e".

The Stockholm Environment Institute defines a carbon offset as "a credit for negating or diminishing the impact of emitting a ton of carbon dioxide by paying someone else to absorb or avoid the release of a ton of CO2 elsewhere".

The University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute defines a carbon offset as "mechanism whereby individuals and corporations pay for reductions elsewhere in order to offset their own emissions."



AAU = Assigned Amount Unit

AFOLU = Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use change

CCB = Climate, Community and Biodiversity

CDM = Clean Development Mechanism

CER = Certified Emission Reduction

COP = Conference of the Parties

DAF = Development Adjustment Factor

ER = Emission Reduction

ES = Ecosystem Service

FAO = Food and Agriculture Organisation

FCPR = Forest Carbon Partnership Facility

FLEGT = Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade

FPIC = Free, Prior and Informed Consent

GHG = Green House Gas

GOFC-GOLD = Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics

HFLD = High Forest Low Deforestation


IERSCC = International Emission Reference Scenario Coordination Centre

IIED = International Institute for Environment and Development

ILO = International Labour Organization

IPCC = Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change

IPES = International Payments for Ecosystem Services

LULUCF = Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

MRV = Measurable, Reportable, Verifiable

NGO = Non-governmental Organisation

ODA = Official Development Assistance

PES = Payments for Ecosystem Services

POA = Programme of activity

RED = Reducing Emissions from Deforestation

REDD = Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (Forest) Degradation

REDD+ = Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the enhancement and conservation of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests in developing countries

RER = Reference Emission Rate

RS = Reference Scenario

SBSTA = Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice

SFM = Sustainable Forest Management

TDERM = Tropical Deforestation Emissions Reduction Mechanism

TEEB = The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

UNDRIP = United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UNFCCC = United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UN-REDD = United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and (Forest) Degradation

WRI = World Resources Institute

WWF = World Wildlife Foundation


A programme of activity (PoA) is additional if it can be demonstrated that in the absence of the CDM (i) the proposed voluntary measure would not be implemented, or (ii) the mandatory policy/regulation would be systematically not enforced and that noncompliance with those requirements is widespread in the country/region, or (iii) that the PoA will lead to a greater level of enforcement of the existing mandatory policy /regulation. This shall constitute the demonstration of additionality of the PoA as a whole.

Afforestation is the 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 .

Carbon Pool
A system which has the capacity to accumulate or release carbon. Examples of carbon pools are forest biomass, wood products, soils, and atmosphere. The units are mass (e.g., t C).

Carbon Stock
The absolute quantity of carbon held within a pool at a specified time.

Deforestation, as defined by the Marrakech Accords, is the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land. A forest is defined as a minimum area of land of 0.05-1 hectares with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10-30 percent with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of 2-5 metres at maturity in situ. Actual definitions can vary from country to country as the Kyoto Protocol permits countries to specify the precise definition within these parameters to be used for national accounting of emissions.
In contrast, deforestation as defined by the FAO is "the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold."

A definition for forest degradation has not yet been agreed upon. Forest degradation is the depletion of forest to tree crown cover at a level above 10 percent, however beyond this general statement, the IPCC has not provided a specific definition.

Being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation. Oil, wheat, and lumber are fungible commodities. Throughout this book we refer to the fungibility of a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Hot Air
Hot air often refers to emissions reductions that are not additional.

Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords.”

Leakage is defined as the net change of anthropogenic emissions by sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) which occurs outside the project boundary, and which is measurable and attributable to the CDM project activity.

The longevity of a carbon pool and the stability of its stocks, given the management and disturbance environment in which it occurs.

Reforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was forested but that has been converted to non-forested land. For the first commitment period, reforestation activities will be limited to reforestation occurring on those lands that did not contain forest on 31 December 1989.

The process of increasing the carbon content of a carbon pool other than the atmosphere.

Any process or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. A given pool (reservoir) can be a sink for atmospheric carbon if, during a given time interval, more carbon is flowing into it than is flowing out.

Opposite of sink: A carbon pool (reservoir) can be a source of carbon to the atmosphere if less carbon is flowing into it than is flowing out of it.


The Little REDD Book to be constantly updated online in the run up to COP 15 in Copenhagen. To follow developments in research and the evolution of REDD proposals visit www.littleREDDbook.org

The proposal by IIASA aims to address two key requirements of any potential REDD mechanism; firstly the generation of measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) REDD credits, and secondly the provision of sustainable emissions reductions.

To ensure MRV credits, IIASA advocate the establishment of an International Emission Reference Scenario Coordination Centre (IERSCC). The IERSCC would act as a global clearing house for harmonized data used in reference scenario modelling. It would be tasked with the collection, reporting and subsequent processing of earth observation, and deforestation and degradation driver information in a globally consistent manner. The IERSCC would also coordinate reference emission scenarios of individual countries against which "real" REDD efforts can be measured.

To maximise ecosystem services co-benefits, Obersteiner et al. use a Dutch tender auction of REDD credits. The auction can be implemented in one of two ways: either maximizing the ecosystem value per REDD unit or the GHG mitigation per fungible Annex I emission reduction unit.


Authors Bill Hare, Kirsten Macey
Website www.greenpeace.org

Date December 2007

The Tropical Deforestation Emissions Reduction Mechanism (TDERM) is a hybrid market-linked fund that aims to overcome several fundamental issues inherent in REDD mechanisms. Hare and Macey highlight technical issues including scale effects, leakage, and other methodological uncertainties, as well as market instability and social and biodiversity concerns.

The proposed fund would trade Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Units (TDERUs) that would not be fungible with the current CDM market. The price of TDERUs could be set either by auctioning or by setting a price linked to the price of Kyoto units. Annex I Parties would be required to meet a fixed part of their national targets using TDERUs. To minimise scale effects this volume would fall between an upper and lower percentage of total emissions.

The fund would be part of a post 2012 agreement and would be responsible for meeting both climate and biodiversity objectives. Greenpeace advocate modalities and procedures for allocating funds that would ensure equity, effectiveness and a broad range of participation.