What does Carbon Neutral do?
What does Carbon Neutral do?

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Help The Environment


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Carbon Offsetting & Carbon Neutrality


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Plant-A-Tree Program


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Biodiverse Reforestation Carbon Offsets


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AAU Assigned Amount Unit
AB32 The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is a California State Law that is a central element of their greenhouse gas emissions reduction program.
ACCC Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Accounting Framework

In reference to the National Greenhouse Accounts with are consistent with both the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol provisions.

The principal difference between the two accounting frameworks is the treatment of emissions and sinks from the land use, land use change and forestry sector (LULUCF).

Accounting Quantity In relation to the Kyoto Protocol LULUCF activities that represents the addition to or subtraction from a Party's assigned amount for a given year of the commitment period. A net removal will be added to the assigned amount while a net source will be subtracted from the assigned amount.
ACCU Australian Carbon Credit Unit - created under the Carbon Farming Initiative
Activity A process that generates greenhouse gas emissions.
Additionality Is the requirement that the reduction project reduces greenhouse gas emissions lower than the level of emissions that would have occurred in the absence of the project.
AEU Australian Emissions Unit
Afforestation Is the establishment of a forest or  stand of trees in an area where there was no cover through planting, seeding and/or human-induced promotion of natural seed sources.
AFSL Australian Financial Services Licence
Annex 1 countries Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 or a percentage thereof
Annex B countries Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol that have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions for the 2008 to 2012 commitment period.
ANREU Australian National Registry of Emissions Units
ASIC Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Australian National Greenhouse Accounts A suite of reports that track national emissions from 1990 onwards which is used to meet Australia’s reporting commitments under the UNFCCC and to track progress against Australia’s target under the Kyoto Protocol.
Base Year The base year emissions for Australia (547.7 Mt CO2-e) are the 1990 emissions for the energy, industrial processes, agriculture and waste sectors (Annex A sectors) and land use change as submitted to the UNFCCC in Australia's Initial Report in October 2008.
‘Business-as-usual’ scenario A description of what would most likely have occurred in the absence of a carbon offset project, also referred to as the ‘baseline scenario’.
Carbon credit

Is a market-based mechanism and is typically transacted in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).  Purchasing one tonne of carbon credit means there will be one less tonne of carbon dioxide (or an equivalent greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere than there otherwise would have been.

Once a carbon credit is purchased, it is retired permanently.

See also 'Carbon offset'.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) A naturally occurring gas and one of the most abundant greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is also a by-product of industrial processes, burning fossil fuels and land use changes.
Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e)

Is the internationally recognised measure of greenhouse emissions and allows other greenhouse gas emissions to be expressed in terms of CO2 based on their relative global warming potential (GWP).

The following gases are included under the term CO2-e

Greenhouse Gas                    GWP

Carbon dioxide (CO2)               1

Methane (CH4)                          21

Nitrous oxide (N2O)                   298

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)     124 – 14,800

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)          390 – 12,200

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)        23,900

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)          17,200  

Carbon footprint Defined as the total set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organisation, event or product in a given time frame.
Carbon market A market that is created for the trading of carbon emission allowances, also known as an emission trading scheme.
Carbon neutrality Carbon neutrality, or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered, avoided or offset.
Carbon offset

An offset is an action that prevents or reduces carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere or removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon credits or offsets are typically measured in tonnes with 1 offset unit equalling 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Offsets can be generated from projects such as renewable energy (prevent emissions from burning coal or gas) or waste gas recovery (prevent emissions from methane released from landfills).

See also 'carbon credit'.

Carbon offset project A third party verified project which utilises proven clean technologies including, hydropower, wind power and methane capture, to generate carbon offsets.
Carbon units Carbon units are created under the (Australian Governments) Clean Energy Act
Climate Change Authority (CCA) Department of the Australian Government that provides independent advice on the operation of emissions reduction targets, caps and trajectories, and other Australian Government climate change initiatives.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide from large sources and storing it where it will not enter the atmosphere normally underground.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Under the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.
CEFC Clean Energy Finance Corporation
CEMARS Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme
Certified Emission Reduction Unit  (CER) A type of emission unit created by a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project.
Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Carbon Farming Initiative allows Australian farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land.
CH4 Methane, second most emitted greenhouse gas with a 100 year global warming potential of 21
Climate Change A change in global climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activity and in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
Compliance carbon market The segment of the carbon market for carbon offset transactions which meet regulatory requirements i.e. offsets purchased by governments and organisations to meet Kyoto targets.
COP Conference of the Parties
CPM Carbon Pricing Mechanism
DCCEE Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (now the Department of the Environment)
Deforestation Deforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of forested land to non-forested land.
Double counting When two or more individuals or organisations claim ownership of specific emission reductions or carbon offsets.
EITE Emissions-Intensive Trade-Exposed
Emission factor The average emission rate of a greenhouse gas emitted per unit of a specified activity.
ERU Emission Reduction Unit
Fugitive Emissions Fugitive emissions involve the release of non-combustion, greenhouse gases arising from the production and delivery of fossil fuels.
Global warming The increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface as a result of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
Global Warming Potential (GWP) Represents the relative warming effect of a unit mass of a greenhouse gas compared with the same mass of CO2 over a specific period.  It is used in the calculation of CO2-e.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) The atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), hyrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Emissions from these gases are reported under the Kyoto Protocol and aggregated into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) using their global warming potentials (GWPs).
HFC Hydrofluorocarbons. Used in refrigeration and other processes, they have a 100 year global warming potential from 124 to 14,800.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) The IPCC assesses the scienctific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.
Inventory year The year in which emission occur.  The Australian inventory is reported for Australian fiscal years as key data sources obtained from national statistical agencies are published on this basis.
JI Joint implementation
Kyoto Protocol An international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC) that requires industrialised country signatories to meed GHG emission reduction targets relative to their 1990 levels.
Leakage Refers to the situation where a carbon offset project in one area inadvertently, directly or indirectly, triggers an activity which counteracts the carbon effects of the initial activity.
LEPID Liable Entities Public Information Database
LULUCF Land use, land-use change, and forestry
Methodology The method used in the calculation of a greenhouse gas inventory and related emissions.
MRV Measurable, reportable and verifiable
N2O Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, has a 100 year global warming potential of 298
NAMAs Nationally appropriate mitigation actions
National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) NCOS provides national consistency and consumer confidence in the voluntary carbon market in Australia. The standard provides guidance on what is a genuine voluntary carbon emission offset and sets the minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting the carbon footprint of an organisation, product or event to voluntarily achieve ‘carbon neutrality’.
National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) Australian standard to provide data and accounting in relation to greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and production.
Observers Agencies, non-governmental organizations, and Governments not Parties to the Convention which are permitted to attend, but not vote, at meetings of the COP, the CMP and the subsidiary bodies.
OTC Over the Counter
Permanence An offset quality criteria which relates to the robustness and durability of the emission reduction generated by a carbon offset project.
PFC Perfluorocarbons. Potent green house gases introduced as ozone depleting alternatives. They have a 100 year global warming potential from 6,500 to 9,200
QELROs Quantified Emissions Limitation and Reduction Commitments
REDD Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
Reforestation Reforestation is the direct human-induced conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding and/or human-induced promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was forested but that has been converted to non-forested land.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) The RGGI is the first United States market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Registry A publicly accessible database that tracks ownership of carbon offsets over their lifetime.

To permanently remove carbon offsets from market to ensure that they are not re-sold.

Offsets are usually retired by giving them individual serial numbers and placing them in an official registry.

Removal Unit (RMU) Under the Kyoto Protocol, a removal unit is equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2-e generated by LULUCF activities.
Scope 1 emissions All direct greenhouse gas emissions
Scope 2 emissions Indirect greenhouse gas emissions from consumption of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
Scope 3 emissions Other indirect emissions not owned or directly controlled by the reporting entity that occur in the value chain of the reporting entity.
SF6 Sulphur hexafluoride. Is an extremely potent greenhouse gas and an excellent electrical insulator. It has a 100 year global warming potential of 23,900.
Sink Any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Forests and other vegetation are considered sinks because they remove carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
Source Any process or activity that releases a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty with the objective to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Unique ownership The concept of clear ownership rights to the emission reductions that a carbon offset represents, to avoid more than one individual or organisation claiming the benefit of the reduction. See double counting and retire.
Validation An independent assessment of a carbon offset project design by an accredited third-part auditor that occurs before the project commences.
Verification An independent assessment of a carbon offset project and the quantification of actual emission reductions achieved conducted by an accredited third-party auditor after the project has commenced.
Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) Under the Verified Carbon Standard, projects are issued unique carbon credits know as Verified Carbon Units (VCUs).  VCUs exist only in the registry accounts and ownership can only be transferred between VCS registry account holders. VCUs cannot be transferred via other databases or paper certificates.
Verified emission reduction (VER) Verified Emission Reductions (VER) – a carbon credit created by a project which has been verified outside of the Kyoto Protocol. One VER corresponds to one tonne of CO2e emission reductions.
Vintage The corresponding year in which the emission reductions that a carbon offset represents were created.
Voluntary carbon market The segment of the carbon market for carbon offset transactions outside of government-related regulatory schemes i.e. offsets purchased by organisations wishing to offset their carbon on a voluntary basis.