Glossary of climate change terms

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Note the explanations in this glossary are those in current use internationally in the context of climate change science and policy. The explanations may not apply in other contexts. They have been collected and are presented here in good faith, but no responsibility is taken for their accuracy.

300 index
Is a forestry term describing the mean annual volume increment (m3/ha/yr) of a stand of Pinus radiata that is pruned to six metres, thinned at the completion of pruning, and grown to a final crop stocking of 300 stems/hectare to age 30 years. The index adjusts for the effects of age, stocking, and thinning/pruning history.
300 index model
Is a forestry term describing a growth model based on both the 300 Index and the Site Index (that is, Mean Top Height at age 20).

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See Assigned Amount Units.
Processes and technologies leading to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Above-ground biomass
All living biomass above the soil including stem, stump, branches, bark, seeds, and foliage.
Absolute based obligation
An obligation for a participant in an emissions trading scheme to surrender one emissions unit for every tonne of CO2-e emitted.
Account (In relation to NZEUR)
An account can hold units. There are three account types: holding account, cancellation account and retirement account.
The rules for comparing emissions and removals as reported with commitments.
Inventory definition: Accuracy is a relative measure of the exactness of an emission or removal estimate. Estimates should be accurate in the sense that they are systematically neither over nor under true emissions or removals, so far as can be judged, and that uncertainties are reduced so far as is practicable. Appropriate methodologies conforming to guidance on good practices should be used to promote accuracy in inventories. (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/6/Add. 1)
Statistical definition: Accuracy is a general term which describes the degree to which an estimate of a quantity is unaffected by bias due to systematic error. It should be distinguished from precision as illustrated below.
Acid deposition
Wet deposition of acids occurs when any form of precipitation (rain, snow, etc) removes acids from the atmosphere and delivers it to the Earth's surface. Acid deposition also occurs via dry deposition in the absence of precipitation. This can be responsible for as much as 20 to 60% of total acid deposition.
Acid rain
Rainwater that has an acidity content greater than the postulated natural pH of about 5.6. It is formed when sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides, as gases or fine particles in the atmosphere, combine with water vapor and precipitate as sulfuric acid or nitric acid in rain, snow, or fog. The dry forms are acidic gases or particulates.
See also Acid deposition.
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.
See also Joint Implementation.
The process of adapting to the physical impacts of climate change on the environment, the economy, infrastructure and society at large. Examples are raising river or coastal dikes and the substitution of more temperature-shock resistant plants for sensitive ones.
Adaptation assessment
The practice of identifying options to adapt to climate change and evaluating them in terms of criteria such as availability, benefits, costs, effectiveness, efficiency and feasibility.
Adaptation Fund
The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Adaptation Fund is financed from the share of proceeds on the clean development mechanism project activities and other sources of funding.  The share of proceeds amounts to two per cent of certified emission reductions (CERs) issued for a CDM project activity. The Adaptation Fund is supervised and managed by the Adaptation Fund Board (AFB).
Adaptation Fund Board
The Adaptation Fund Board manages the IPCC’s Adaptation Fund. The board is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates representing Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. It includes two representatives from each of the five United Nations regional groups, one representative of the small island developing States (SIDS), one representative of the least developed country (LDCs) Parties, two other representatives from the Parties included in Annex I to the Convention (Annex I Parties), two other representatives from the Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (non-Annex I Parties). Its functions include – developing strategic priorities, policies and guidelines; developing and deciding on operational policies and guidelines; and deciding on projects including the allocation of funds to those projects.
Adaptive capacity (in relation to climate change impacts)
The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences.
Emissions reductions are 'additional' if they occur because of the incentives associated with the existence of greenhouse gas markets. A variety of additionality 'tests' have been proposed. Basically, demonstrating additionality means showing that the emissions reductions being used as offsets are not 'business as usual'.
The reaction of economies and society to emission reduction policies.
Administering agency
The Government agency with overall responsibility for administering the ETS. It is probable that the agricultural and forestry components of the ETS will be administered by MPI under a memorandum of understanding with the overall administering agency.
Australian Emissions Trading Scheme – An emissions trading scheme being established by the Australian Government as part of an effective framework for meeting the climate change challenge.
The direct human-induced conversion of land that was not forest land on 1 January 1990 to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed sources after that date.
Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) Projects
Afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects imply to establish forest on land that has not been forested for a period of at least 50 years (afforestation) or on non-forested land (reforestation) through planting, seeding and/or the promotion of natural seed sources.
Afforestation Grant Scheme
The Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) is a new policy initiative that was first flagged in Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change: Options for a Plan of Action released in December 2006. Under the AGS, foresters can receive a Government grant for the planting of new forests on previously unforested (‘Kyoto-compliant’) land. Participants would own the new forests and earn income from the timber, while the Crown would retain the sink credits, and take responsibility for meeting all harvesting and deforestation liabilities.
Agenda 21
A major result of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). A non-binding framework of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally, to achieve sustainable development consisting of four interlinked sections: social and economic dimensions; management and conservation of natural resources; means of implementation; and strengthening the role of organizations of the United Nations system, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans impact on the environment.
See Afforestation Grant Scheme
See Activities Implemented Jointly
The fraction of solar radiation reflected by a surface or object, often expressed as a percentage. Snow covered surfaces have a high albedo; the albedo of soils ranges from high to low; vegetation covered surfaces and oceans have a low albedo. The Earth's albedo varies mainly through varying cloudiness, snow, ice, leaf area and land cover changes.
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. The 43 members and observers are American Samoa, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cook Islands, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Grenada, Guam, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, US Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu.
Allocation of emissions permits or allowances among greenhouse gas emitters to establish an emissions trading market. The division of permits/allowances can be done through grandfathering method and permit auctioning.
Allocation plan
National plan to allocate emission allowances to individual persons (including companies) under the New Zealand emissions trading scheme.
Annex I countries
The group of countries included in Annex I (as amended in 1998) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including all the OECD countries in the year 1990 and countries with economies in transition. Under Articles 4.2 (a) and 4.2 (b) of the Convention, Annex I countries committed themselves specifically to the aim of returning individually or jointly to their 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2000. By default, the other countries are referred to as Non-Annex I countries. For a list of Annex I countries, see
Annex II countries
The group of countries included in Annex II to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including all OECD countries in the year 1990. Under Article 4.2 (g) of the Convention, these countries are expected to provide financial resources to assist developing countries to 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. For a list of Annex II countries, see
Annex A
A list of the six greenhouse gases Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) covered under the Kyoto Protocol and the sectors or source categories that emit them. The sectors include energy, fuel combustion, energy industries, manufacturing industries and construction, transport, fugitive emissions from fuels, solid fuels, oil and natural gas, industrial processes, mineral products, chemical industry, metal production, other production, production of halocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride, consumption of halocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride, solvent and other product use, agriculture, enteric fermentation, manure management, rice cultivation, agricultural soils, prescribed burning of savannas field burning of agricultural residues, waste, solid waste disposal on land, wastewater handling, waste incineration, other.
Annex B
The developed countries (sometimes referred to as parties) listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol that have agreed to a target for their greenhouse-gas emissions in the period 2008-12. Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol is very similar to Annex I of the UNFCCC. See also Kyoto Protocol.
Annex Z
Annex Z of Marrakesh Accords (COP7) consists of the maximum amount of forest management credits for each Annex 1 country.
Human made. In the context of greenhouse gases, emissions that are produced as the result of human activities.
See Alliance of Small Island States
Application accepted
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry) that reflects the act of accepting an application post evaluation for completeness of the application content. The application will then move to formal assessment.
Application approved
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry) that reflects the successful outcome of an application assessment.
Application declined
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry), that reflects the unsuccessful outcome of an application assessment.
Application pending
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry), that reflects the act of waiting for the return of information from the applicant, while an application is being processed (pending acceptance or approval) or an application under process.
Application received
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry) that reflects the point that an application is received as a result of being lodged via the online channel or being received via the post.
Application rejected
The status of a climate change scheme application received by MPI ETS (Forestry), that reflects the act of rejecting an application post evaluation for completeness of the application content.
Approved Overseas Unit
An approved overseas unit is a unit, other than a Kyoto unit than has been issued by an overseas registry and can be transferred to accounts in the Registry.
An Article of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or the Kyoto Protocol.
Assessable income
Income which is subject to tax.
Assigned Amount Units (AAUs)
The emission units allocated to the Annex I countries (see under the Kyoto Protocol. They may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target for the first commitment period, 2008–12. One AAU is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Parties with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Parties) have accepted targets for limiting or reducing emissions. These targets are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts,” over the 2008-2012 commitment period. The allowed emissions are divided into “assigned amount units” (AAUs).
Associated persons
A person is an associated person in relation to one or more other persons if:
  • each person is a body corporate and each of the bodies corporate consist substantially of the same members or shareholders or are under the control of the same person, or
  • any of the bodies corporate has the power, directly or indirectly, to exercise or control the exercise of, 25% or more of the voting power at a meeting of the other, or is able to appoint or control 25% or more of the governing body of the other.
The mixture of gases surrounding the Earth. The Earth's atmosphere consists of about 79.1 percent nitrogen (by volume), 20.9 percent oxygen, 0.036 percent carbon dioxide and trace amounts of other gases. The atmosphere can be divided into a number of layers according to its mixing or chemical characteristics, generally determined by its thermal properties (temperature). The layer nearest the Earth is the troposphere, which reaches up to an altitude of about 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) in the polar regions and up to 17 kilometers (nearly 11 miles) above the equator. The stratosphere, which reaches to an altitude of about 50 kilometers (31miles) lies atop the troposphere. The mesosphere, which extends from 80 to 90 kilometers atop the stratosphere, and finally, the thermosphere, or ionosphere, gradually diminishes and forms a fuzzy border with outer space. There is relatively little mixing of gases between layers.
Atmospheric radiation
Longwave (infrared) radiation emitted by or being propagated through the atmosphere.
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Programme
The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Programme is the largest global change research program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The primary goal of the ARM Programme is to improve the treatment of cloud and radiation physics in global climate models in order to improve the climate simulation capabilities of these models.
Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC)
A non-statutory Ministerial Council formed in July 1991. ANZECC consists of the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers and the New Zealand and Papua New Guinea Ministers responsible for the environment and conservation. It provides a forum for member governments to exchange information and develop coordinated policies in relation to national and international environment and conservation issues.
Adhoc working group.
Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action. The AWG-LCA is the body under the UNFCCC tasked with following up on the Bali Action Plan, which was launched at Bali last December to “enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention”, and which should reach an agreed outcome at the end of 2009.
Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). The AWG-KP is mandated to report to each CMP on the status of its work. It aims to complete its work and have its results adopted by the Conference of the Parties at the earliest possible time to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

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Bali Roadmap
After the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference on the island of Bali in Indonesia in December, 2007, the participating nations adopted the Bali Roadmap (also known as the Bali Action Plan) as a two-year process to finalising a binding agreement in 2009 in Denmark.
Base year
1990 is the base year used in the UNFCCC and also for most Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Commitment(s) (QELRC) established under the Kyoto Protocol. However, all Economies in Transition (EITs) that chose a different base year under a decision taken by the second conference of the parties (COP2) shall use that year under the Protocol. The term is also used for voluntary reporting and generally refers to the first year a greenhouse gas inventory is prepared.
Below-ground biomass
All living biomass of live roots. Fine roots of less than (suggested) 2 mm diameter are sometimes excluded because these often cannot be distinguished empirically from soil organic matter or litter.
A process used in management and particularly strategic management, in which organisations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice, usually within their own sector. This then allows organisations to develop plans on how to adopt such best practice, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organisations continually seek to challenge their practices.
Best practice
A best practice is a process, technique, or innovative use of technology, equipment or resources that has a proven record of success in providing significant improvement in cost, schedule, quality, performance, safety, environment, or other measurable factors which impact an organisation.
Berlin Mandate
An agreement reached at at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) in Berlin, in March-April 1995, which led to the elaboration of the Kyoto Protocol.
Charcoal produced from biomass. In some cases, the term is used specifically to mean biomass charcoal produced via pyrolysis.
Organic material both aboveground and belowground, and both living and dead, eg, trees, crops, grasses, tree litter, roots etc. Biomass includes the pool definition for above - and below - ground biomass.
A fuel produced from organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. Examples of biofuel include alcohol, black liquor from the paper-manufacturing process, wood, and soybean oil.
A major and distinct regional element of the biosphere, typically consisting of several ecosystems (eg forests, rivers, ponds, swamps within a region of similar climate). Biomes are characterised by typical communities of plants and animals.
Biosphere (terrestrial and marine)
The part of the Earth system comprising all ecosystems and living organisms, in the atmosphere, on land (terrestrial biosphere) or in the oceans (marine biosphere), including derived dead organic matter, such as litter, soil organic matter and oceanic detritus.
Boreal forest
Forests of pine, spruce, fir, and larch stretching from the east coast of Canada westward to Alaska and continuing from Siberia westward across the entire extent of Russia to the European Plain.
Bottom-up models
Bottom-up models represent reality by aggregating characteristics of specific activities and processes, considering technological, engineering and cost details. See also Top-down models.
Bunker fuels
A term used to refer to fuels consumed for international marine and air transport. Bunker fuel is technically any type of fuel oil used aboard ships. It gets its name from the containers on ships and in ports that it is stored in; in the days of steam they were coal bunkers but now they are bunker tanks. In accordance with the IPCC Guidelines for the preparation of greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories, emissions from international aviation and maritime transport (also known as international bunker fuel emissions) should be calculated as part of the national GHG inventories of Parties, but should be excluded from national totals and reported separately.

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See Carbon Accounting Area.
Negotiating coalition of countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, Albania, and the Republic of Moldova.
In relation to an emission unit, means the transfer of a unit in to a cancellation account. Once this is done an emission unit cannot be further transferred, retired, carried over or cancelled. This will include a general cancellation account, a sink cancellation account and a non-compliance cancellation account.
Cancellation account
An account in the Registry that has been established for the purpose of holding emission units that have been cancelled.
See Compliance Action Plan.
Cap and trade
A cap and trade system is an emissions trading system, where total emissions are limited or ‘capped’. The Kyoto Protocol is a cap and trade system in the sense that emissions from Annex B countries are capped and that excess permits might be traded. However, normally cap and trade systems will not include mechanisms such as the CDM, which will allow for more permits to enter the system, ie beyond the cap.
In the context of income tax, means a situation where income is not subject to tax and any expenses cannot be deducted when calculating a tax liability.
Carbon accounting area (CAA)
CAA means an area of post-1989 forest land that is defined by a person who is registered or has applied to register as a participant in relation to forestry removal activities or meets any relevant criteria specified in regulations made under the Act.
Carbon budget
A measure of carbon inputs and outputs for a particular activity.
Carbon credits
A tradeable unit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. Carbon credits may be created by projects that sink carbon dioxide, eg through regeneration of native forest, reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency projects or avoid greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy generation projects. See Credits.
Carbon credit accounts
The status of carbon credits is determined by the type of account in which they are held in the registry. Carbon credits used to offset greenhouse gas emissions should not have been used before as an offset and they should not be on-sold. To do so would negate the offset. This is often referred to as ‘double dipping’. To help track the status of carbon credits, each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions reduction should have a unique serial number.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
A process consisting of separation of carbon dioxide from industrial and energy-related sources, transport to a storage location, and long-term isolation from the atmosphere.
Carbon cycle
The term used to describe the flow of carbon (in various forms, eg as carbon dioxide) through the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial biosphere and lithosphere.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
A naturally occurring colourless, odourless, non-poisonous gas which is a normal part of the ambient air. It is also a by-product of burning fossil fuels from fossil carbon deposits, such as oil, gas and coal, of burning biomass and of land use changes and other industrial processes. It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas that affects the Earth’s radiative balance. It is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential of 1.
Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e)
The quantity of a given greenhouse gas multiplied by its global warming potential, which equates its global warming impact relative to carbon dioxide (CO2). This is the standard unit for comparing the degree of warming that can be caused by emissions of different greenhouse gases.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilisation
The enhancement of the growth of plants as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. Depending on their mechanism of photosynthesis, certain types of plants are more sensitive to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
Carbon equivalent
A metric measure used to compare the emissions of the different greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are most commonly expressed as "million metric tons of carbon equivalents" (MMTCE). Global warming potentials are used to convert greenhouse gases to carbon dioxide equivalents. See also global warming potential, greenhouse gas.
Carbon flux
The rate of exchange of carbon between pools (ie, reservoirs).
Carbon footprint
A measure of the impact of the activities of a person, a company or a country on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced. It is measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Carbon intensity
The amount of emission of carbon dioxide per unit of product (eg tonnes of CO2 per tonnes of steel production). Can be more broadly expressed as emissions intensity to cover the other greenhouse gases.
Carbon inventory
A process of measuring the CO2-e stock stored in a forest at a point in time. This is done using approved sampling methodology.
Carbon leakage
The part of emissions reductions in Annex B countries that may be offset by an increase of the emissions in the non-constrained countries above their baseline levels. This can occur through (1) relocation of energy-intensive production in non-constrained regions; (2) increased consumption of fossil fuels in these regions through decline in the international price of oil and gas triggered by lower demand for these energies; and (3) changes in incomes (thus in energy demand) because of better terms of trade.
Carbon market
Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, people speak simply of trading in carbon. Carbon is now tracked and traded like any other commodity. This is known as the 'carbon market.'
Carbon neutral/carbon neutrality
Being carbon neutral means that the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is equivalent to that absorbed (see Emissions offsets). Carbon neutrality means reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide as much as possible and 'offsetting' the emissions that can't be easily reduced.
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS)
The Australian Government package of policy solutions to climate change. The centrepiece of the Government’s response will be an emissions trading scheme.

The government outlined the key elements of the proposed emissions trading scheme in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper (the Green Paper) in July 2008.
Carbon sequestration
The addition of a substance of concern to a reservoir. The uptake of carbon containing substances, in particular carbon dioxide, is often called (carbon) sequestration.
Carbon sinks
In New Zealand the phrase generally applies to planted forests which remove CO2 from the atmosphere. More broadly carbon sinks are any process whereby greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere and include atmospheric chemical processes, uptake by terrestrial ecosystems and oceanic physicl and chemical processes.
Carbon stock assessment
The assessment of the total carbon in a forest including stemwood, bark, branches, leaves, litter, woody debris, stumps and roots.
Carbon stock change
The carbon stock in a pool can change due to the difference between additions of carbon and losses of carbon. When the losses are larger than the additions, the carbon stock becomes smaller, and thus the pool acts as a source to the atmosphere; when the losses are smaller than the additions, the pools acts as a sink to the atmosphere.
Carbon trading
Emissions trading, as set out in Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows countries that have emission units to spare - emissions permitted them but not 'used' - to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets. Thus, a new commodity was created in the form of emission reductions or removals. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, people speak simply of trading in carbon. See also Carbon market, Emissions trading.
Carbon tax
A carbon tax is a price based measure designed to change consumer behaviour, by applying a tax on CO 2-e equivalent emissions. The New Zealand government’s 2002 climate change policy package included a carbon tax on energy, industrial and transport emissions, capped at $25 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO 2-e). In December 2005 the government decided not to proceed with the announced carbon tax.
Carbon yield table
A table showing the growth of carbon per hectare year-by-year in a forest.
Carry over
The transfer of emission units from one Commitment Period to a subsequent commitment period.
An area that collects and drains precipitation.
See Convention on Biological Diversity.
Climate Change Information System.
Climate Control Policies.
CCP agent/CCP consultant
Agents/Consultants may coordinate and submit application information on behalf of participants, pending approval and sign-off from the participant or applicant, provided they have explicit consent from respective participants/applicants. The participant has to take full ownership of the application; including signing or indicating that they take full responsibility for all materials which are submitted on their behalf.
See Clean Development Mechanism.
CDM Executive Board
The CDM Executive Board supervises the Clean Development Mechanism, under the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).
See Certified Emission Reduction Units.
Certificate of title
Describes a piece of land and its boundaries together with the legal description. Refer also to Computer Freehold Register.
Certified Emission Reduction Unit (CER)
Certified Emission Reduction (CER) units. These are tradable units generated by Projects that reduce emissions in Non-Annex I Parties under the CDM. They may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target and are equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
See Chlorofluorocarbons.
See Crown Forest Licence.
Central Group 11 (negotiating coalition of Central European Annex I parties).
Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention.
See Methane.
Chief Executive
Chief executive in relation to a Part of the Act, means the chief executive of the department that is, with authority of the Prime Minister, responsible for the administration of the Part of the Act.
Chief Executive responsible for the administration of this Act
Chief executive in relation to the Act means the chief executive of the department that is, with authority of the Prime Minister, responsible for the administration of this Act.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
Organic compounds made up of atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. An example is CFC-12 (CCl2F2), used as a refrigerant in refrigerators and air conditioners and as a foam blowing agent. Gaseous CFCs can deplete the ozone layer when they slowly rise into the stratosphere, are broken down by strong ultraviolet radiation, release chlorine atoms, and then react with ozone molecules. See also Halocarbons.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
Defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM is intended to meet two objectives: (1) to assist parties not included in Annex I in achieving sustainable development and in contributing to the ultimate objective of the convention; and (2) to assist parties included in Annex I in achieving compliance with their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments. Certified Emission Reduction Units from CDM projects undertaken in non-Annex I countries that limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, when certified by operational entities designated by Conference of the Parties/Meeting of the Parties, can be accrued to the investor (government or industry) from parties in Annex B. A share of the proceeds from the certified project activities is used to cover administrative expenses as well as to assist developing country parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to meet the costs of adaptation.
The felling of an area of forest over a short time.
Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.
Climate-carbon cycle coupling
Future climate change induced by atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases will impact on the global carbon cycle. Changes in the global carbon cycle in turn will influence the fraction of anthropogenic greenhouse gases that remains in the atmosphere, and hence the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, resulting in further climate change. This feedback is called climate-carbon cycle coupling. The first generation coupled climate-carbon cycle models indicates that global warming will increase the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 that remains in the atmosphere.
Climate change
A change in climate, attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere, and is additional to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (eg, by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use. Note that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines climate change as: ‘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 observed over comparable time periods’. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between climate change attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and climate variability attributable to natural causes. See also Climate variability; Detection and Attribution.
Climate change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Act
The Act's principal purpose is to amend the Climate Change Response Act 2002 to introduce a greenhouse gas Emissions Trading Scheme in New Zealand. It also amends the Electricity Act 1992 to create a preference for renewable electricity generation by implementing a moratorium on new fossil-fuelled thermal electricity generation, except to the extent necessary to ensure the security of New Zealand's electricity supply.
Climate feedback
An interaction mechanism between processes in the climate system is called a climate feedback when the result of an initial process triggers changes in a second process that in turn influences the initial one. A positive feedback intensifies the original process, and a negative feedback reduces it.
Climate model
A numerical representation of the climate system based on the physical, chemical and biological properties of its components, their interactions and feedback processes, and accounting for all or some of its known properties. The climate system can be represented by models of varying complexity, that is, for any one component or combination of components a spectrum or hierarchy of models can be identified, differing in such aspects as the number of spatial dimensions, the extent to which physical, chemical or biological processes are explicitly represented, or the level at which empirical parametrisations are involved. Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) provide a representation of the climate system that is near the most comprehensive end of the spectrum currently available. There is an evolution towards more complex models with interactive chemistry and biology (see WGI Chapter 8). Climate models are applied as a research tool to study and simulate the climate, and for operational purposes, including monthly, seasonal and interannual climate predictions.
Climate prediction
A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce an estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, for example, at seasonal, interannual or long-term time scales. Since the future evolution of the climate system may be highly sensitive to initial conditions, such predictions are usually probabilistic in nature. See also Climate projection.
Climate projection
A projection of the response of the climate system to emission or concentration scenarios of greenhouse gases and aerosols, or radiative forcing scenarios, often based upon simulations by climate models. Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions in order to emphasise that climate projections depend upon the emission/concentration/radiative forcing scenario used, which are based on assumptions concerning, for example, future socioeconomic and technological developments that may or may not be realised and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty.
Climate sensitivity
In IPCC reports, equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the equilibrium change in the annual mean global surface temperature following a doubling of the atmospheric equivalent carbon dioxide concentration above pre-industrial levels. Due to computational constraints, the equilibrium climate sensitivity in a climate model is usually estimated by running an atmospheric general circulation model coupled to a mixed-layer ocean model, because equilibrium climate sensitivity is largely determined by atmospheric processes. Efficient models can be run to equilibrium with a dynamic ocean.

The transient climate response is the change in the global surface temperature, averaged over a 20-year period, centred at the time of atmospheric carbon dioxide doubling, that is, at year 70 in a 1%/yr compound carbon dioxide increase experiment with a global coupled climate model. It is a measure of the strength and rapidity of the surface temperature response to greenhouse gas forcing.
Climate shift
An abrupt shift or jump in mean values signalling a change in climate regime (see Patterns of climate variability). Most widely used in conjunction with the 1976/1977 climate shift that seems to correspond to a change in El Niño-Southern Oscillation behaviour.
Climate system
The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land-use change.
Climate threshold
The point at which external forcing of the climate system triggers a significant climatic or environmental event which is considered unalterable, or recoverable on only very long timescales. For example, widespread bleaching of corals or the collapse of  an oceanic circulation system as a result of increasing atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Climate variability
Climate variability refers to variations in the mean state and other statistics (such as standard deviations, the occurrence of extremes, etc.) of the climate on all spatial and temporal scales beyond that of individual weather events. Variability may be due to natural internal processes within the climate system (internal variability), or to variations in natural or anthropogenic external forcing (external variability). See also Climate change.
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
Carbon dioxide.
Coastal squeeze
The squeeze of coastal ecosystems (eg salt marshes, mangroves and mud and sand flats) between rising sea levels and naturally or artificially fixed shorelines, including hard engineering defences.
The benefits of policies that are beyond the scope of the original policy. For example policies designed to address greenhouse gas mitigation have other, often at least equally important, rationales (eg, related to objectives of development, sustainability, and equity).
Combined Heat and Power (CHP)
The use of waste heat from thermal electricity generation plants. The heat is eg condensing heat from steam turbines or hot flue gases exhausted from gas turbines, for industrial use, buildings or district heating. Also called co-generation.
Commitment period
A specified period in which an Annex I Party is to show compliance with its greenhouse gas emissions target. The first Commitment Period for the Kyoto Protocol is 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012. The targets are set relative to greenhouse gas emissions in the base year (in New Zealand’s case, 1990), multiplied by five.
Commitment Period Reserve
The minimum number of emission units that a National Registry must keep for a specified period during a commitment period. In New Zealand’s case this means that Kyoto units covering 90 per cent of our assigned amount (under the Kyoto Protocol) must be held in the registry at any point in time throughout the first commitment period (2008–2012). If this limit is reached, the registry would effectively close to outgoing international transfers until more Kyoto units (AAUs, CERs, ERUs or RMUs) were transferred into the registry.
Common Reporting Format (CRF)
Standardised format for reporting estimates of greenhouse-gas emissions and removals and other relevant information by Annex I Parties.
Competitiveness at risk (CAR)
Being in the position where bearing a price for greenhouse gas emissions significantly impedes a firm’s ability to compete against international competitors in countries with less stringent climate change policies. Such competition could be on the basis of exports or imports.
Inventory definition: Completeness means that an inventory covers all sources and sinks for the full geographic coverage, as well as all gases included in the IPCC Guidelines in addition to other existing relevant source/sink categories which are specific to individual Parties (and therefore may not be included in the IPCC Guidelines).
Compliance is whether and to what extent countries do adhere to the provisions of an accord. Compliance depends on implementing policies ordered, and on whether measures follow up the policies. Compliance is the degree to which the actors whose behaviour is targeted by the agreement, local government units, corporations, organisations, or individuals, conform to the implementing obligations. See also Implementation.
Compliance Action Plan (CAP)
One of the penalties that could be imposed on Annex I countries found to be in breach of their emission target under the Kyoto protocol.
Computer Freehold Register
New term for a Certificate of Title.
Amount of a chemical in a particular volume or weight of air, water, soil, or other medium. See parts per billion, parts per million.
Conference of the Parties (COP)
The supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It comprises more than 180 nations that have ratified the Convention. Its first session was held in Berlin, Germany, in 1995 and it is expected to continue meeting on a yearly basis. The COP's role is to promote and review the implementation of the Convention. It will periodically review existing commitments in light of the Convention's objective, new scientific findings, and the effectiveness of national climate change programmes.
The level of confidence in the correctness of a result is expressed in this report, using a standard terminology defined as follows:
Terminology Degree of confidence in being correct
Very high confidence At least 9 out of 10 chance of being correct
High confidence About 8 out of 10 chance
Medium confidence About 5 out of 10 chance
Low confidence About 2 out of 10 chance
Very low confidence Less than 1 out of 10 chance
See also Likelihood; Uncertainty
Inventory definition: Consistency means that an inventory should be internally consistent in all its elements over a period of years. An inventory is consistent if the same methodologies are used for the base year and all subsequent years and if consistent data sets are used to estimate emissions or removals from sources or sinks. Under certain circumstances referred to in paragraphs 10 and 11 of FCCC/SBSTA/1999/6/Add.1, an inventory using different methodologies for different years can be considered to be consistent if it has been recalculated in a transparent manner taking into account any good practices.
Statistical definition: A statistical estimator for a parameter is said to be consistent, if the estimator tends towards the parameter as the size of the sample used for the estimator increases – ie, precision is improved by an increasing number of observations.
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity, signed by over 150 governments at UNCED in 1992. It came into force in 1993 and is a framework for international action to conserve the planet's biological diversity, ensure the sustainable use of its components, and promote the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
Conversion Account
Conversion Account means an account in the Registry used for the purpose of converting New Zealand Units into assigned amount units.
Convert in relation to a New Zealand Unit means transfer of the unit to a conversion account in the Registry.
See Conference of the Parties.
The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, between December 7 and December 18, 2009. The conference includes the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 15) and the fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. According to the Bali roadmap, a framework for climate change mitigation beyond 2012 is to be agreed there. The overall goal for COP15 is to establish a global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires. It is expected that ministers and officials from 192 countries will take part.
The consumption of resources such as labour time, capital, materials, fuels, etc. as a consequence of an action. In economics all resources are valued at their opportunity cost, being the value of the most valuable alternative use of the resources. Costs are defined in a variety of ways and under a variety of assumptions that affect their value. Cost types include: administrative costs, damage costs (to ecosystems, people and economies due to negative effects from climate change), and implementation costs of changing existing rules and regulation, capacity building efforts, information, training and education, etc. Private costs are carried by individuals, companies or other private entities that undertake the action, whereas social costs include also the external costs on the environment and on society as a whole. The negative of costs are benefits (also sometimes called negative costs). Costs minus benefits are net costs.
Countries with Economies in Transition (EIT)
Those Central and East European countries and former republics of the Soviet Union in transition from state-controlled to market economies. These countries are expected to be the location of choice for many JI projects under the Kyoto Protocol on cost grounds.
Crediting period
The period for which emission reductions or enhancement in removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere from a CDM or Joint Implementation Project are monitored and verified.
Carbon credits are a key component of national and international emissions trading schemes that have been implemented to mitigate climate change. They provide a way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions on an industrial scale by capping total annual emissions and letting the market assign a monetary value to any shortfall through trading. Credits can be exchanged between businesses or bought and sold in international markets at the prevailing market price. Credits can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes between trading partners and around the world. See Carbon credits.
Crown Forest Licence
Between 1990 and 1992 the Crown sold the majority of its exotic plantation forests but retained the land for use in future Treaty of Waitangi settlements. This land is now Crown forest land. The Crown granted Crown forest licences to private companies to plant and harvest trees.
The component of the climate system consisting of all snow, ice and frozen ground (including permafrost) on and beneath the surface of the Earth and ocean. See also Glacier; Ice sheet.
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.
Certificate of Title.

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Dairy processing
Dairy processing in relation to milk or colostrum means the first occasion, other than at a farm dairy, on which the milk or colostrum is made subject to heat treatment, freezing, separation, concentration, filtering, blending, extraction of milk components, and the addition of other material, including (but not limited to) food, ingredients, additives, or processing aids as defined in the Food Standards Code.
Dead wood
Includes all non-living woody biomass not contained in the litter, either standing, lying on the ground, or in the soil. Dead wood includes wood lying on the surface, dead roots, and stumps larger than or equal to 10 cm in diameter or any other diameter used by the country.
In the context of income tax, means expenses which can be deducted from income when calculating a tax liability.
To convert forest land to non-forest land.
The conversion of forest land to non-forest land. It does not include forest harvesting or natural disturbance, provided the land is replanted or allowed to regenerate.

For a discussion of the term forest and related terms such as afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation see the IPCC Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (IPCC, 2000). See also the Report on Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of other VegetationTypes (IPCC, 2003).
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK)
Demand-side management (DSM)
Policies and programmes for influencing the demand for goods and/or services. In the energy sector, DSM aims at reducing the demand for electricity and energy sources. DSM helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
de minimis
A threshold under which greenhouse gas emissions associated with an activity are immaterial or insignificant in terms of the objectives of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (for the purposes of this document, also has a meaning in the context of the law).
Designated National Authority (DNA)
An office, ministry, or other official entity appointed by a Party to the Kyoto Protocol to review and give national approval to projects proposed under the Clean Development Mechanism.
Designated Operational Entity (DOE)
Is either a domestic legal entity or an international organisation accredited or designated by a Party to the Kyoto Protocol to review and give approval to individual projects proposed under the Clean Development Mechanism. It validates and subsequently requests registration of a proposed CDM project activity which will be considered valid after 8 weeks if no request for review was made
Detection and attribution
Climate varies continually on all time scales. Detection of climate change is the process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense, without providing a reason for that change. Attribution of causes of climate change is the process of establishing the most likely causes for the detected change with some defined level of confidence.
Development path or pathway
An evolution based on an array of technological, economic, social, institutional, cultural, and biophysical characteristics that determine the interactions between natural and human systems, including production and consumption patterns in all countries, over time at a particular scale. Alternative development paths refer to different possible trajectories of development, the continuation of current trends being just one of the many paths.
Discounting/ discount rate
A mathematical operation making monetary (or other) amounts received or expended at different points in time (years) comparable across time. The operator uses a fixed or possibly time-varying discount rate (>0) from year to year that makes future value worth less today. In a descriptive discounting approach one accepts the discount rates people (savers and investors) actually apply in their day-to-day decisions (private discount rate). In a prescriptive (ethical or normative) discounting approach the discount rate is fixed from a social perspective, eg based on an ethical judgement about the interests of future generations (social discount rate).
Disposal facility
Disposal facility means any facility that operates, at least in part, as a business to dispose of waste. These facilities include landfills, at which waste is disposed, including waste from a household that is not the entirely from construction, renovation or demolition.
Dispose in relation to waste means the final (or more than short term) deposit of waste into or onto land set apart for that purpose and includes incinerating the waste by deliberately burning the waste to destroy it, but not to recover energy from it.
See Designated Operational Entity.
A method that derives local- to regional-scale (10 to 100 km) information from larger-scale models or data analyses.
In general terms, drought is a ‘prolonged absence or marked deficiency of precipitation’, a ‘deficiency that results in water shortage for some activity or for some group’, or a ‘period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of precipitation to cause a serious hydrological imbalance’ (Heim, 2002). Drought has been defined in a number of ways. Agricultural drought relates to moisture deficits in the topmost 1 metre or so of soil (the root zone) that affect crops, meteorological drought is mainly a prolonged deficit of precipitation, and hydrologic drought is related to below-normal streamflow, lake and groundwater levels. A megadrought is a longdrawn out and pervasive drought, lasting much longer than normal, usually a decade or more.

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East Coast Forestry Project
An existing initiative where landowners can receive a government grant for the planting of new forests on severely eroding land on the East Coast of the North Island.
See East Coast Forestry Project.
Economic leakage
Economic activity being displaced from one country to another, with a consequent reduction in economic welfare in the former country.
Economic (mitigation) potential
See Mitigation potential.
Economies in Transition (EITs)
Countries with their economies changing from a planned economic system to a market economy.
A system of living organisms interacting with each other and their physical environment. The boundaries of what could be called an ecosystem are somewhat arbitrary, depending on the focus of interest or study. Thus, the extent of an ecosystem may range from very small spatial scales to, ultimately, the entire Earth.
See Countries with Economies in Transition.
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
The term El Niño was initially used to describe a warm-water current that periodically flows along the coast of Ecuador and Perú, disrupting the local fishery. It has since become identified with a basinwide warming of the tropical Pacific east of the dateline. This oceanic event is associated with a fluctuation of a global-scale tropical and subtropical surface pressure pattern called the Southern Oscillation. This coupled atmosphere-ocean phenomenon, with time scales of two to about seven years, is collectively known as El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. It is often measured by the surface pressure anomaly difference between Darwin and Tahiti and the sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During an ENSO event, the prevailing trade winds weaken, reducing upwelling and altering ocean currents such that the sea surface temperatures warm, further weakening the trade winds. This event has a great impact on the wind, sea surface temperature and precipitation patterns in the tropical Pacific. It has climatic effects throughout the Pacific region and in many other parts of the world, through global teleconnections. The cold phase of ENSO is called La Niña.
Emission factor
An intensity factor relating to greenhouse gas emissions per unit of activity (such as tonnes of fuel consumed, tonnes of product produced).
Emission scenario
A plausible representation of the future development of emissions of substances that are potentially radiatively active (eg, greenhouse gases, aerosols), based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about driving forces (such as demographic and socioeconomic development, technological change) and their key relationships. Concentration scenarios, derived from emission scenarios, are used as input to a climate model to compute climate projections. In IPCC (1992) a set of emission scenarios was presented which were used as a basis for the climate projections in IPCC (1996). These emission scenarios are referred to as the IS92 scenarios. In the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (Nakićenović and Swart, 2000) new emission scenarios, the so-called SRES scenarios, were published. For the meaning of some terms related to these scenarios, see SRES scenarios.
Emission unit
An instrument created under law that can be bought and sold and used to meet an entity’s obligations under an emissions trading scheme. In the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, one emission unit corresponds to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
The release of greenhouse gases and/or their precursors into the atmosphere over a specified area and period of time. In relation to forestry, the release of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of greenhouse gases from the activity
Emissions offsets
Individuals and businesses are able to offset the emissions they produce through other activities that have a positive impact. This usually means paying a registered organisation to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by the same amount that the activities add. For example, some airlines now offer travellers an option to offset the emissions generated through flying.
Emissions (or environmental) leakage
The shift in emissions (and other environmental impacts) from one country to another associated with economic activity being displaced from one country to another.
Emissions Returns
Emissions Returns means an annual or a final emissions return submitted under the Emissions Trading Act.
Emission(s) trading (see also Carbon Market)
A market-based approach to achieving environmental objectives. It allows those reducing greenhouse gas emissions below their emission cap 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 intra-company, domestic, and international levels. The Second Assessment Report by the IPCC adopted the convention of using permits for domestic trading systems and quotas for international trading systems. Emissions trading under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol is a tradable quota system based on the assigned amounts calculated from the emission reduction and limitation commitments listed in Annex B of the Protocol. Emissions trading, as set out in Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows countries that have emission units to spare - emissions permitted them but not "used" - to sell this excess capacity to countries that are over their targets. Thus, a new commodity was created in the form of emission reductions or removals. Since carbon dioxide is the principal greenhouse gas, people speak simply of trading in carbon.
Emission trajectory
A projected development in time of the emission of a greenhouse gas or group of greenhouse gases, aerosols and greenhouse gas precursors.
Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) see New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)
Emissions trading schemes (or cap and trade) are an economic policy instrument used to control emissions by providing economic incentives for achieving emission reductions.
Emission Unit or allowance
(See Kyoto Unit). An instrument created under law that can be bought and sold, and used to meet an entity’s obligations under an emissions trading scheme. In the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme, one emission unit corresponds to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Emission Reduction Units (ERUs)
These are tradable units generated by Joint Implementation Projects in Annex I Parties. They may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target and are equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
Emission standards
Requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment.
The amount of work or heat delivered. Energy is classified in a variety of types and becomes useful to human ends when it flows from one place to another or is converted from one type into another. Primary energy (also referred to as energy sources) is the energy embodied in natural resources (eg, coal, crude oil, natural gas, uranium) that has not undergone any anthropogenic conversion. This primary energy needs to be converted and transported to become usable energy (eg light). Renewable energy is obtained from the continuing or repetitive currents of energy occurring in the natural environment, and includes non-carbon technologies such as solar energy, hydropower, wind, tide and waves, and geothermal heat, as well as carbon neutral technologies such as biomass. Embodied energy is the energy used to produce a material substance (such as processed metals, or building materials), taking into account energy used at the manufacturing facility (zero order), energy used in producing the materials that are used in the manufacturing facility (first order), and so on.
Energy balance
The difference between the total incoming and total outgoing energy in the climate system. If this balance is positive, warming occurs; if it is negative, cooling occurs. Averaged over the globe and over long time periods, this balance must be zero. Because the climate system derives virtually all its energy from the Sun, zero balance implies that, globally, the amount of incoming solar radiation on average must be equal to the sum of the outgoing reflected solar radiation and the outgoing thermal infrared radiation emitted by the climate system. A perturbation of this global radiation balance, be it anthropogenic or natural, is called radiative forcing.
Energy conservation
Reduction or elimination of unnecessary energy use and waste. See also energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency
Ratio of useful energy output of a system, conversion process or activity, to its energy input.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
EECA was established under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000, as a stand-alone Crown entity. It has an enduring role to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy across all sectors of the New Zealand economy.
Energy intensity
The ratio between the consumption of energy to a given quantity of economic or physical output. At the national level, energy intensity is the ratio of total primary energy use or final energy use to Gross Domestic Product. At the activity level, one can also use physical quantities in the denominator, eg litre fuel/vehicle km.
Enhanced greenhouse effect
The concept that the natural greenhouse effect has been enhanced by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, CFCs, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3, and other photochemically important gases caused by human activities such as fossil fuel consumption, trap more infra-red radiation, thereby exerting a warming influence on the climate. See also greenhouse gas, anthropogenic, greenhouse effect, climate.
See El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Entity, in relation to a group, means a reporting entity or reporting entity’s subsidiary, within the meaning of the Financial Reporting Act 1993.
Environment Court
A specialist court in New Zealand, where people can go to appeal decisions made by councils on a policy statement or a plan, or resource consent application, or to apply for an enforcement order.
Environmental Integrity Group
A coalition or negotiating alliance consisting of Mexico, the Republic of Korea, and Switzerland.
Equivalent carbon dioxide concentration
Equivalent CO2 (CO2e) is the concentration of CO2 that would cause the same level of radiative forcing as a given type and concentration of greenhouse gas. Examples of such greenhouse gases are methane, perfluorocarbons and nitrous oxide. CO2e is expressed as parts per million by volume, ppmv.
Equivalent carbon dioxide emission
Carbon dioxide equivalency is a quantity that describes, for a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gas, the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential (GWP), when measured over a specified timescale (generally, 100 years).
The process of removal and transport of soil and rock by weathering, mass wasting, and the action of streams, glaciers, waves, winds, and underground water.
See Emission Reduction Units.
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Ethanol (C2H5OH).
Ethanol is otherwise known as ethyl alcohol, alcohol, or grain spirit. It is a clear, colourless, flammable oxygenated hydrocarbon with a boiling point of 78.5 degrees Celsius in the anhydrous state. In transportation, ethanol is used as a vehicle fuel by itself (E100), blended with gasoline (E85), or as a gasoline octane enhancer and oxygenate (10 percent concentration).
See New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)
European Union (EU)
As a regional economic integration organization, the EU is a Party to both the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. However, it does not have a separate vote from its member states. Because the EU signed the Convention when it was known as the EEC (European Economic Community), the EU retains this name for all formal Convention-related purposes. Members are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
European Union Allowance (EUA)
The unit of trade in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.
The combined process of water evaporation from the Earth’s surface and transpiration from vegetation.
Exempt income
Income which is not subject to tax.
A waiver from bearing an obligation under a policy measure. For example, under the former carbon tax and Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement (NGA) regime, NGA firms were to receive a full or partial exemption from the carbon tax that would otherwise have applied to their direct emissions of greenhouse gases.
Exempt land
Pre-1990 forest land that has been declared to be exempt land under this Act (Sect 159,160)-land that as at 1 September 2007 is owned by a land owner who, with any associated persons, owned in total less than 50 hectares of pre-1990 forest land.
Exotic forest species
Forest species that are not indigenous forest species.
Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT)
An expert group established at COP7 with the objective of enhancing the implementation of Article 4.5 of the Convention, by analyzing and identifying ways to facilitate and advance technology transfer activities under the Convention
Expert review teams
Groups of experts, nominated by Parties, who review national reports submitted by Annex I Parties to the UNFCCC, and the Kyoto Protocol.
External forcing
External forcing refers to a forcing agent outside the climate system causing a change in the climate system. Volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere and landuse change are external forcings.
The complete disappearance of an entire biological species.
Extreme weather event
An event that is rare at a particular place. Definitions of “rare” vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer than the 10th or 90th percentile of the observed probability density function. By definition, the characteristics of what is called extreme weather may vary from place to place. Single extreme events cannot be simply and directly attributed to anthropogenic climate change, as there is always a finite chance the event in question might have occurred naturally.

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Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
This term refers to the groups of gases hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphurhexafluoride, which are covered under the Kyoto Protocol.
First commitment period (CP1)
This is the first period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012), where member countries become liable for their greenhouse gas emissions.
Food security
A situation that exists when people have secure access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth, development and an active and healthy life. Food insecurity may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution, or inadequate use of food at the household level.
Many definitions of the term forest are in use throughout the world, reflecting wide differences in biogeophysical conditions, social structure, and economics. Particular criteria apply under the Kyoto Protocol, where a “Forest” is a minimum area of land of 0.05–1.0 hectare with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10–30 per cent with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of 2–5 metres at maturity in situ. A forest may consist either of closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high portion of the ground or open forest. Young natural stands and all plantations which have yet to reach a crown density of 10 – 30 per cent or tree height of 2 – 5 metres are included under forest, as are areas normally forming part of the forest area which are temporarily unstocked as a result of human intervention such as harvesting or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest.

Under New Zealand’s definition, forest is a minimum area of land of 1.0 hectares with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 30 per cent with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of 5 metres at maturity in situ. Tree cover less than 30 metres wide is excluded.

Forests are not defined for reporting under the Convention. The IPCC Guidelines encourage countries to use detailed ecosystem classifications in the calculations and in reporting broad specified categories to ensure consistency and comparability of national data across countries. For a discussion of the term forest and related terms such as afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation see the IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (IPCC, 2000). See also the Report on Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of Other Vegetation Types (IPCC, 2003).
Forest inventory
System for measuring the extent, quantity and condition of a forest, usually by sampling.
Forest land
A minimum area of land of one hectare with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 30 per cent with trees with the potential to reach a minimum height of five metres at maturity in situ. This category includes all land with woody vegetation consistent with thresholds used to define forest land in the national GHG inventory, sub-divided at the national level into managed and unmanaged and also by ecosystem type as specified in the IPCC Guidelines.6 It also includes systems with vegetation that currently falls below, but is expected to exceed, the threshold of the forest land category. Young natural stands and all plantations which have yet to reach a crown density of 30 percent or tree height of five metres are included under forest, as are areas normally forming part of the forest land area which are temporarily un-stocked as a result of human intervention such as harvesting or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest (Kyoto Protocol definition). Tree cover less than 30 metres wide is excluded. Does not include shelter belt where the tree crown cover at maturity has, or is expected to have, an average width of less than 30 metres; or an area of land where the tree crown cover at maturity has, or is expected to have, an average width of less than 30 metres, unless the area is contiguous with other forest land.
Forest management
A system of practices for stewardship and use of forest land aimed at fulfilling relevant ecological (including biological diversity), economic and social functions of the forest in a sustainable manner.
Forest sinks
Forests are called sinks because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Trees convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbon stored in the form of wood and soil organic matter.
Forest species
Forest species means a tree species capable of reaching at least 5 metres in height at maturity in the place where it is located.
Fossil fuels
Coal, natural gas, crude oil and fuels derived from crude oil such as petrol and diesel. They are called fossil fuels because they have been formed over long periods of time from ancient organic matter. They are not renewable.
Framework Convention on Climate Change
See United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Frozen ground
Soil or rock in which part or all of the pore water is frozen (Van Everdingen, 1998). Frozen ground includes permafrost. Ground that freezes and thaws annually is called Tundra or seasonally frozen ground.
Fuel cell
A fuel cell generates electricity in a direct and continuous way from the controlled electrochemical reaction of hydrogen or another fuel and oxygen. With hydrogen as fuel it emits only water and heat (no carbon dioxide) and the heat can be utilised. See also Combined Heat and Power.
Fuel switching
In general this is substituting fuel A for fuel B. In the climate change discussion it is implicit that fuel A has a lower carbon content than fuel B, eg natural gas for coal.
Fugitive emissions
Those emissions that do not come from combustion but arise as a result of processing or transforming fuels. Examples of fugitive emissions include the venting of CO2 at the Kapuni Gas Treatment Plant and the emissions from geothermal fields.
Possibility to exchange different types of reduction credits achieved under different mechanism (eg NZUs and AAUs).

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G77 and China (Developing Countries)
G77 is a "third-world" coalition and represents their economic and political interests at the United Nations. The group was founded in 1964, as 77 nations joined forces. The G77 now has 133 members.
Global Climate Observing System.
General Circulation Model (GCM)
A numerical representation of the climate system based on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of its components, their interactions and feedback processes, and accounting for all or some of its known properties. The climate system can be represented by models of varying complexity (ie, for any one component or combination of components a hierarchy of models can be identified, differing in such aspects as the number of spatial dimensions, the extent to which physical, chemical, or biological processes are explicitly represented, or the level at which empirical parameterisations are involved. Coupled atmosphere/ ocean/sea-ice General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) provide a comprehensive representation of the climate system. More complex models include active chemistry and biology. Climate models are applied, as a research tool, to study and simulate the climate, but also for operational purposes, including monthly, seasonal, and interannual climate predictions.
Geographical information system
A computer system designed to allow users to collect, manage and analyse large volumes of spatially referenced information and associated attribute data.
Term used to describe the combination of spatial software (that is, GIS software) and analytical methods with geographic data sets (GIS data).
See Geographical Information System.
A glacier is a large body of continuously accumulating ice and compacted snow, formed in mountain valleys or at the poles, that deforms under its own weight and slowly moves. Glacier ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth, and second only to oceans as the largest reservoir of total water. Glaciers cover vast areas of the Polar Regions but are restricted to the highest mountains in the tropics. Glaciers are categorised by size and location. Glaciers categorised by size include ice fields, ice caps, and ice sheets. Glaciers categorised by location include alpine, valley, and piedmont glaciers. The largest glaciers are continental ice sheets.
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF is an independent financial organisation that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities. The Parties to the Convention assigned operation of the financial mechanism to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on an on-going basis, subject to review every four years. The financial mechanism is accountable to the COP.
Global surface temperature
The global surface temperature is an estimate of the global mean surface air temperature. However, for changes over time, only anomalies, as departures from a climatology, are used, most commonly based on the areaweighted global average of the sea surface temperature anomaly and land surface air temperature anomaly.
Global warming
Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns. Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural and human induced. In common usage, "global warming" often refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. See climate change, greenhouse effect, enhanced greenhouse effect, radiative forcing, troposphere.
Global warming potential (GWP)
An index, based upon radiative properties of well mixed greenhouse gases, measuring the radiative forcing of a unit mass of a given well mixed greenhouse gas in today’s atmosphere integrated over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of carbon dioxide. The GWP represents the combined effect of the differing times these gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in absorbing outgoing thermal infrared radiation. In its first commitment period the Kyoto Protocol uses GWPs over a 100-year time frame as presented in the IPCC second assessment report.
Good practice
Inventory definition: Good Practice is a set of procedures intended to ensure that greenhouse gas inventories are accurate in the sense that they are systematically neither over nor underestimates so far as can be judged, and that uncertainties are reduced so far as possible. Good Practice covers choice of estimation methods appropriate to national circumstances, quality assurance and quality control at the national level, quantification of uncertainties and data archiving and reporting to promote transparency.
Good practice guidance
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a document called Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry, which provides practical advice for inventory agencies within the policy framework of the Kyoto Protocol.
Global Ocean Observing System.
The allocation of emission units or other forms of financial assistance to emitters on the basis of their historical emissions.
Green Investment Scheme (GIS)
Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol allows countries to sell their surplus as Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), where one AAU is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 emitted to countries in deficit. Under the Kyoto Protocol, many economies in transition (eg Russia and Romania) were allocated emission commitments, so-called 'assigned amounts', well above their emissions at the time. Arguably, the commitment level surplus would allow these countries' emissions to grow as their economies recovered, but even with the rapid growth of emissions the emissions will be well under their target. Environmentalists and many European countries oppose such trading on the grounds that it undermines Kyoto ambitions by allowing buyers to emit more without the sellers needing to do any effort to reduce emissions – referred to as 'hot air trading'. The Green investment schemes are supposed to provide environmental benefits of 'hot air trading' (AAU transfers) by earmarking revenues from these transfers for environmentally related purposes in the seller countries.
Greenhouse effect
Greenhouse gases effectively absorb thermal infrared radiation, emitted by the Earth’s surface, by the atmosphere itself due to the same gases, and by clouds. Atmospheric radiation is emitted to all sides, including downward to the Earth’s surface. Thus greenhouse gases trap heat within the surface-troposphere system. This is called the greenhouse effect. Thermal infrared radiation in the troposphere is strongly coupled to the temperature of the atmosphere at the altitude at which it is emitted. In the troposphere, the temperature generally decreases with height. Effectively, infrared radiation emitted to space originates from an altitude with a temperature of, on average, –19°C, in balance with the net incoming solar radiation, whereas the Earth’s surface is kept at a much higher temperature of, on average, +14°C. An increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases leads to an increased infrared opacity of the atmosphere, and therefore to an effective radiation into space from a higher altitude at a lower temperature. This causes a radiative forcing that leads to an enhancement of the greenhouse effect, the so-called enhanced greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse gas (GHG)
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 thermal infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere itself, and by 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).
Greenhouse gas inventory
The inventory is an annual account of all human-caused emissions and removals of greenhouse gases in New Zealand. It is produced each year as part of our obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Climate Change Convention) and the Kyoto Protocol.
Grey market
In the New Zealand context, a shorthand term for the emissions trading market for units that cannot be used for compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. Grey market units can be generated by projects in Kyoto countries that do not pass through the Kyoto Protocol’s crediting processes, or in countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the monetary value of all goods and services produced within a nation.
Group means a group as defined in the Financial Reporting Act 1993.
Group of Latin American and Caribbean States.
Global Terrestrial Observing System.
See Global warming potential

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A collective term for the group of partially halogenated organic species, including the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), halons, methyl chloride, methyl bromide, etc. Many of the halocarbons have large Global Warming Potentials. The chlorine and bromine containing halocarbons are also involved in the depletion of the ozone layer.
A situation or event with the potential to cause harm. A hazard does not necessarily cause harm.
See Hydrofluorocarbons.
Holding Account (Active)
Carbon credits held in an active holding account can be traded provided that they have not been retired or cancelled, ie previously used as an offset, and are not registered in more than one registry. Means an operator holding account created under the NZEUR Registries Regulation, or a person holding account created under the Registries Regulation.
The Māori word for a meeting, social gathering or assembly.
Human system
Any system in which human organisations play a major role. Often, but not always, the term is synonymous with society or social system eg, agricultural system, political system, technological system, economic system; all are human systems in the sense applied in the Fourth Assessment Report.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
See Halocarbons
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
One of the six greenhouse gases or groups of greenhouse gases to be curbed under the Kyoto Protocol. They are produced commercially as a substitute for chlorofluorocarbons. HFCs largely are used in refrigeration and semiconductor manufacturing. See also Halocarbons
The component of the climate system comprising liquid surface and subterranean water, such as oceans, seas, rivers, fresh water lakes, underground water, etc.
Hydrological cycle
The cycle in which water evaporates from the oceans and the land surface, is carried over the Earth in atmospheric circulation as water vapour, condensates to form clouds, precipitates again as rain or snow, is intercepted by trees and vegetation, provides runoff on the land surface, infiltrates into soils, recharges groundwater, discharges into streams, and ultimately, flows out into the oceans, from which it will eventually evaporate again (AMS, 2000). The various systems involved in the hydrological cycle are usually referred to as hydrological systems.

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See Initial Assigned Amount.
International Climate Change Partnership.
Ice sheet
An ice sheet is the largest form of glacier that covers a huge land area for a long period of time.
International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives.
International Energy Agency.
Intergovernmental organisation.
International Maritime Organisation.
(Climate change) Impact assessment
The practice of identifying and evaluating, in monetary and/or non-monetary terms, the effects of climate change on natural and human systems.
(Climate change) Impacts
The effects of climate change on natural and human systems. Depending on the consideration of adaptation, one can distinguish between potential impacts and residual impacts:
  • Potential impacts: all impacts that may occur given a projected change in climate, without considering adaptation.
  • Residual impacts: the impacts of climate change that would occur after adaptation.
See also market impacts, and non-market impacts.
Implementation describes the actions taken to meet commitments under a treaty and encompasses legal and effective phases. Legal implementation refers to legislation, regulations, judicial decrees, including other actions such as efforts to administer progress which governments take to translate international accords into domestic law and policy. Effective implementation needs policies and programmes that induce changes in the behaviour and decisions of target groups. Target groups then take effective measures of mitigation and adaptation. See also Compliance.
Indigenous forest
A forest that comprises tree species known to be natural to the area. Strict definitions may relate to the original method of forest establishment (and the direct involvement of people in the process), the mixture of flora and fauna, and the conditions believed to have been present prior to human intervention.
Indigenous forest species
Forest species that occur naturally in New Zealand or have arrived in new Zealand without human assistance.
Industrial revolution
A period of rapid industrial growth with far-reaching social and economic consequences, beginning in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century and spreading to Europe and later to other countries including the United States. The invention of the steam engine was an important trigger of this development. The industrial revolution marks the beginning of a strong increase in the use of fossil fuels and emission of, in particular, fossil carbon dioxide. The terms pre-industrial and industrial refer, somewhat arbitrarily, to the periods before and after 1750, respectively.
In the context of climate change mitigation, inertia relates to the difficulty of change resulting from pre-existing conditions within society such as physical man-made capital, natural capital, and social non-physical capital, including institutions, regulations, and norms. Existing structures lock in societies making change more difficult.

In the context of the climate system, inertia relates to the delay in climate change after an external forcing has been applied, and to the continuation of climate change even after the external forcing has been stabilised. For example, even if greenhouse gases never rise beyond their present level, temperatures and sea levels will continue rising for another century or more because of a time lag in the oceans' response to atmospheric temperatures.
Infrared radiation
Radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and the clouds. It is also known as terrestrial or longwave radiation, and is to be distinguished from the near-infrared radiation that is part of the solar spectrum. Infrared radiation, in general, has a distinctive range of wavelengths (spectrum) longer than the wavelength of the red colour in the visible part of the spectrum. The spectrum of thermal infrared radiation is practically distinct from that of shortwave or solar radiation because of the difference in temperature between the Sun and the Earth-atmosphere system. See greenhouse effect, enhanced greenhouse effect and global warming.
The basic equipment, utilities, productive enterprises, installations, and services essential for the development, operation, and growth of an organization, city, or nation.
Initial Assigned Amount (IAA)
The allowance of emissions of greenhouse gas assigned to a Party listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol, measured in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is based on the Party's 1990 level of emissions.
In principle decision
In this context, ‘in-principle’ means the Government would need compelling evidence to adopt a different policy approach.
In-scheme forest land
Post-1989 forest land that has been voluntarily put forward to enter the ETS.
Integrated assessment
A method of analysis that combines results and models from the physical, biological, economic and social sciences, and the interactions between these components in a consistent framework to evaluate the status and the consequences of environmental change and the policy responses to it. Models used to carry out such analysis are called Integrated Assessment Models.
Integrated water resources management (IWRM)
The prevailing concept for water management which, however, has not been defined unambiguously. IWRM is based on four principles that were formulated by the International Conference on Water and the Environment in Dublin, 1992:
  1. fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment;
  2. water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policymakers at all levels;
  3. women play a central part in the provision, management and safeguarding of water;
  4. water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognised as an economic good.
Intensity based obligation
An obligation for a participant in an emissions trading scheme to surrender units on an intensity basis (ie, one unit for every tonne of CO2-e emitted per unit of activity).
Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO)
A long timescale oscillation in the Pacific Ocean–atmosphere system that shifts climate every one to three decades. The IPO has positive (warm) and negative (cool) phases. Positive phases tend to be associated with an increase in El Niño, and negative phases with an increase in La Niña events.
The warm periods between ice age glaciations. The previous interglacial, dated approximately from 129,000 to 116,000 years ago, is referred to as Last Interglacial. (AMS, 2000)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the IPCC surveys world-wide scientific and technical literature and publishes assessment reports that are widely recognised as the most credible existing sources of information on climate change. The IPCC was established to provide the decision-makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change. The IPCC also works on methodologies and responds to specific requests from the Convention's subsidiary bodies. The IPCC is independent of the Convention.
International Transaction Log (ITL)
Also referred to as the Independent Transaction Log. An electronic database established and administered by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to monitor the validity of transactions between national registers under the Kyoto Protocol.
A list of an organisation’s or a country’s greenhouse gas emissions by sources, removals by sinks (eg, growing trees) and stocks (eg, carbon stored in forest biomass and soils).
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
See Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
See Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation
International Standards Organization.
World Conservation Union.

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Language that is used or understood only by a select group of people. Jargon may refer to terminology used in a certain profession, such as climate change jargon, or it may refer to any nonsensical language that is not understood by most people.
Joint Liaison Group (JLG)
Group of representatives of UNFCCC, CBD, and UNCCD Secretariats set up to explore common activities to confront problems related to climate change, biodiversity and desertification.
Joint Implementation (JI)
A market-based implementation mechanism defined in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, allowing Annex I countries or companies from these countries to implement projects jointly that limit or reduce emissions or enhance sinks. JI projects earn particular Kyoto compliance units known as emission reduction units, which can be used by an Annex I party to help meet its Kyoto commitment.

JI activity is also permitted in Article 4.2(a) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). See also Kyoto Mechanisms; Activities Implemented Jointly.
An acronym representing non-EU industrialized countries which occasionally meet to discuss various issues related to climate change. The members are Japan, the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway, and New Zealand. Iceland, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea may also attend JUSSCANZ meetings.

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The exercise of guardianship by the tangata whenua of an area in accordance with tikanga Māori in relation to natural and physical resources, including the ethic of stewardship.
Key category
A category that is prioritised within the national inventory system because its estimate has a significant influence on a country’s total inventory of direct greenhouse gases in terms of the level of emissions or removals, the trend in emissions or removals, or both.
Kyoto compliant land
Land that was not forest land as at 31 December 1989.
Kyoto-compliant units
Also called carbon credits. Each unit is equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. The units are internationally tradable and can be used to pay for greenhouse gas emissions at the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012).
Kyoto forest
This type of forest must meet four tests:
  • it must be considered a 'forest';
  • its establishment must have 'direct human-induced' eg, through planting or seeding;
  • it must have been established after 31 December 1989; and
  • the forest must have been established on land that was previously in some other land-use and did not contain forest on 1 January 1990.
Kyoto/liability provision
The anticipated liability, or cost, expected by countries in 2008-2012.
Kyoto market
The emissions trading market for emission units included under the Kyoto Protocol.
Kyoto Mechanisms (also called Flexibility Mechanisms)
Economic mechanisms based on market principles that parties to the Kyoto Protocol can use in an attempt to lessen the potential economic impacts of greenhouse gas emission-reduction requirements. They include Joint Implementation (Article 6), Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12), and Emissions Trading (Article 17).
Kyoto Protocol
Allied agreement to the UNFCCC containing emission reduction targets for Annex I Parties. The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. It contains legally binding commitments, in addition to those included in the UNFCCC. Countries included in Annex B of the Protocol (most Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and countries with economies in transition) agreed to reduce their anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride) by at least 5% below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005.
Kyoto Unit
A common name for the following types of emission units under the Kyoto Protocol:
  • Assigned Amount Units (AAUs)
  • Emission Reduction Units (ERUs)
  • Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs)
  • Removal Units (RMUs)
  • Temporary Certified Emission Reduction Units (tCERs)
  • Long-term Certified Emission Reduction Units (lCERs)
The Kyoto Protocol and the Climate Change Response Legislation also specify the different types of transactions that can be undertaken for each type of emission unit (for example cancellation, retirement, and carry-over) and the procedure for undertaking these transactions. (For New Zealand’s register see NZEUR).

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Land cover
The type of vegetation covering the earth’s surface.
Land holding
Freehold or leasehold estate, or interest in that land that entitles a person to receive units or the value of units based on carbon sequestration by that forest sink, but does not include a registered interest by way of charge or security.
In relation to the Crown land it means the appropriate Minister as defined under the Crown Minerals Act 1991. Landowner in relation to land other than Crown land means the legal owner or owners of a freehold estate in the land or if the land is Maori freehold land (as defined in the Te Ture Whenua Maori act 1993), the legal owner of the land.
Land parcel
A legal description of the land. Could comprise one or more Certificates of Title.
Land use
The type of activity being carried out on a unit of land.
Land Use and Carbon System Analysis (LUCAS)
The project is being implemented to meet New Zealand’s reporting and accounting requirements under the Kyoto Protocol. It allows New Zealand to claim credits (RMUs – see Kyoto unit) for our carbon sinks under the Kyoto Protocol. The data and information required to determine New Zealand’s carbon stock changes will be stored in the LUCAS database.
Land use categories
In GPG-LULUCF this term is used for the broad land-use categories that are a mixture of land cover (e.g, Forest, Grassland, Wetlands) and land use (e.g, Cropland Settlements) classes. The top-level land categories for greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory reporting are:
  1. Forest land
    This category includes all land with woody vegetation consistent with thresholds used to define forest land in the national GHG inventory, sub-divided into managed and unmanaged, and also by ecosystem type as specified in the IPCC Guidelines. It also includes systems with vegetation that currently fall below, but are expected to exceed, the threshold of the forest land category.
  2. Cropland
    This category includes arable and tillage land, and agro-forestry systems where vegetation falls below the thresholds used for the forest land category, consistent with the selection of national definitions.
  3. Grassland
    This category includes rangelands and pasture land that is not considered as cropland. It also includes systems with vegetation that fall below the threshold used in the forest land category and are not expected to exceed, without human intervention, the threshold used in the forest land category. The category also includes all grassland from wild lands to recreational areas as well as agricultural and silvi-pastural systems, subdivided into managed and unmanaged consistent with national definitions.
  4. Wetlands
    This category includes land that is covered or saturated by water for all or part of the year (eg, peatland) and that does not fall into the forest land, cropland, grassland or settlements categories. The category can be subdivided into managed and unmanaged according to national definitions. It includes reservoirs as a managed sub-division and natural rivers and lakes as unmanaged sub-divisions.
  5. Settlements
    This category includes all developed land, including transportation infrastructure and human settlements of any size, unless they are already included under other categories. This should be consistent with the selection of national definitions.
  6. Other land
    This category includes bare soil, rock, ice, and all unmanaged land areas that do not fall into any of the other five categories. It allows the total of identified land areas to match the national area, where data are available.
Land use and Land-use change
Land use refers to the total of arrangements, activities and inputs undertaken in a certain land cover type (a set of human actions). The term land use is also used in the sense of the social and economic purposes for which land is managed (eg, grazing, timber extraction, and conservation). Land-use change refers to a change in the use or management of land by humans, which may lead to a change in land cover. Land cover and landuse change may have an impact on the surface albedo, evapotranspiration, sources and sinks of greenhouse gases, or other properties of the climate system and may thus have a radiative forcing and/or other impacts on climate, locally or globally. See also: the IPCC Report on Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (IPCC, 2000).
Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)
A greenhouse gas inventory sector that covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct human-induced land use, land-use change and forestry activities. Several Articles of the Kyoto Protocol make provisions for the inclusion of land use, land-use change and forestry activities by Parties as part of their efforts to implement the Kyoto Protocol and contribute to the mitigation of climate change. In Article 2, sub-paragraphs 1(a) (ii) and (iii), Annex I Parties, in meeting their emission reduction commitments under Article 3, shall implement and/or further elaborate policies and measures to protect and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases (GHGs) not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, promote sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation and sustainable forms of agriculture. Annex I Parties must report emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs resulting from LULUCF activities. To estimate land areas in each LULUCF land category, New Zealand has used an analysis of two existing land-cover maps of New Zealand - the Land Cover Databases 1 and 2 (respectively, LCDB1 and LCDB2) (Thompson et al, 2004). The LCDB1 and LCDB2 are an example of the wall-to-wall mapping of Approach 3 as described in GPG-LULUCF. The LCDBs were not specifically developed for use in UNFCCC reporting, however they have been used by New Zealand as they are the only national land cover/land use spatial databases available that provide current information and can be reasonably mapped to the LULUCF land categories. The land categories to be mapped and monitored through NZCAS will be designed specifically for reporting under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and will replace LCDB data in the inventory in the future.
See Long-term Certified Emission Reduction units.
See Least Developed Countries.
See Livestock Emissions Research Network
Learning by Doing
As researchers and firms gain familiarity with a new technological process, or acquire experience through expanded production they can discover ways to improve processes and reduce cost. Learning by Doing is a type of experience-based technological change.
Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
The World’s poorest countries. The criteria currently used by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for designation as an LDC include low income, human resource weakness and economic vulnerability. Currently 50 countries have been designated by the UN General Assembly as LDCs.
Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG)
A panel of 12 experts which provides advice to LDCs on the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) -- plans for addressing the urgent and immediate needs of those countries to adapt to climate change.
Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF)
The LDCF is a fund established to support a work programme to assist Least Developed Country Parties to carry out, inter alia, the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs). The Global Environment Facility, as the entity that operates the financial mechanism of the Convention, has been entrusted to operate this fund.
Level of Scientific Understanding (LOSU)
This is an index on a 5-step scale (high, medium, medium-low, low and very low) designed to characterise the degree of scientific understanding of the radiative forcing agents that affect climate change. For each agent, the index represents a subjective judgement about the evidence for the physical/chemical mechanisms determining the forcing and the consensus surrounding the quantitative estimate and its uncertainty.
Light Detection and Ranging. By taking up to 55,000 time-measurements a second LiDAR can accurately measure distances and can provide detailed three-dimensional representations of the ground surface and vegetation to calculate sequestered carbon. New Zealand is the first country in the world to use LiDAR to assist in Kyoto reporting obligations.
Lifetime (atmospheric)
The lifetime of a greenhouse gas refers to the approximate amount of time it would take for the anthropogenic increment to an atmospheric pollutant concentration to return to its natural level (assuming emissions cease) as a result of either being converted to another chemical compound or being taken out of the atmosphere via a sink. This time depends on the pollutant’s sources and sinks as well as its reactivity. The lifetime of a pollutant is often considered in conjunction with the mixing of pollutants in the atmosphere; a long lifetime will allow the pollutant to mix throughout the atmosphere. Average lifetimes can vary from about a week (eg sulfate aerosols) to more than a century (eg CFCs, carbon dioxide).
The likelihood of an occurrence, an outcome or a result, where this can be estimated probabilistically, is expressed in IPCC reports using a standard terminology defined as follows:
Terminology Likelihood of the occurrence / outcome
Virtually certain >99% probability of occurrence
Very likely >90% probability
Likely >66% probability
More likely than not >50% probability
About as likely as not 33 to 66% probability
Unlikely <33% probability
Very unlikely <10% probability
Exceptionally unlikely <1% probability

See also Confidence; Uncertainty
Likely, Very Likely, Extremely Likely, Virtually Certain
These terms are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to indicate how probable it is that a predicted outcome will occur in the climate system, according to expert judgment. A result the term “likely” to occur has a greater than 66 per cent probability of occurring. A “very likely” result has a greater than 90 per cent probability. “Extremely likely” means greater than 95 per cent probability, and “virtually certain” means greater than 99 per cent probability.
Includes all non-living biomass with a diameter less than a minimum diameter chosen by the country (for example 10 cm), lying dead, in various states of decomposition above the mineral or organic soil. This includes litter, fumic, and humic layers. Live fine roots (of less than the suggested diameter limit for belowground biomass) are included in litter where they cannot be distinguished from it empirically.
Livestock Emissions Abatement Research Network (LEARN)
An international initiative originating in New Zealand, to coordinate and enhance the global science effort to reduce livestock emissions (initially ruminant methane emissions, but LEARN has a mandate to spawn groups to cover other livestock and farming systems). The group was established on 1 December 2007 following the Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture Conference in Christchurch. The group consists of 25 member countries.
Long-term Certified Emission Reduction (LCER) unit.
These are tradable units generated by Projects that enhance removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in Non-Annex I Parties under the CDM. lCERs expire at the end of the crediting period of the Project (though these crediting periods may be renewed such that the Project may continue for up to 60 years). Individuals are not allowed to hold lCERs in the New Zealand Emission Unit Register.
Low regret options
Options for which the implementation costs are low while, bearing in mind the uncertainties with future climate change projections, the benefits under future climate change may potentially be large. See also no regret adaptation options.
See Land Use and Carbon System Analysis.
See Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

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Macroeconomic costs
These costs are usually measured as changes in Gross Domestic Product or changes in the growth of Gross Domestic Product, or as loss of welfare or of consumption.
Maori land
Maori land has the same meaning as in the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.
Managed forest
All forests subject to some kind of human interactions (notably commercial management, harvest of industrial round-wood (logs) and fuelwood, production and use of wood commodities, and forest managed for amenity value or environmental protection if specified by the country), with defined geographical boundaries.
Marrakesh Accords
The principles in the Marrakesh Accords respond to concerns that the use of LULUCF activities should not undermine the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. These principles underscore, for example, the need for sound science and consistent methodologies, as well as the importance of conserving biodiversity. They also specify that naturally-occurring removals, including removals as a consequence of indirect anthropogenic effects, should be excluded from the system and that any re-release of greenhouse gases (eg through forest fires) must be promptly accounted for. In order to ensure consistency and comparability among Parties, a common definition is established for the term "forest". Some flexibility is allowed to take account of national circumstances, so that a Party may choose, for example, to select a minimum tree height of between 2 to 5 metres for its definition of a forest. Once the values are chosen, however, they remain fixed. The Marrakesh Accords also provided definitions for four additional LULUCF activities, these being: Forest management; Cropland management; Grazing land management; and Revegetation.
Market Exchange Rate (MER)
This is the rate at which foreign currencies are exchanged. Most economies post such rates daily and they vary little across all the exchanges. For some developing economies official rates and black-market rates may differ significantly and the MER is difficult to pin down.
Market impacts
Impacts that can be quantified in monetary terms, and directly affect Gross Domestic Product – eg changes in the price of agricultural inputs and/or goods. See also Non-market impacts.
Market potential
See Mitigation potential.
Mass balance (of glaciers, ice caps or ice sheets)
The balance between the mass input to an ice body (accumulation) and the mass loss (ablation, iceberg calving). Mass balance terms include the following:
  • Specific mass balance: net mass loss or gain over a hydrological cycle at a point on the surface of a glacier.
  • Total mass balance (of the glacier): The specific mass balance spatially integrated over the entire glacier area; the total mass a glacier gains or loses over a hydrological cycle.
  • Mean specific mass balance: The total mass balance per unit area of the glacier. If surface is specified (specific surface mass balance, etc.)
then ice-flow contributions are not considered; otherwise, mass balance includes contributions from ice flow and iceberg calving. The specific surface mass balance is positive in the accumulation area and negative in the ablation area.
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.
Mean sea level
Mean sea level is normally defined as the average relative sea level over a period, such as a month or a year, long enough to average out transients such as waves and tides. Relative sea level is sea level measured by a tide gauge with respect to the land upon which it is situated. See also Sea level change/sea level rise.
Measurable, reportable and verifiable
At the Thirteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, developing countries agreed for the first time to consider taking “measurable, reportable and verifiable” mitigation actions, a significant departure from the “no new commitments” stand they have maintained in the past. In exchange, their actions would be supported by technology and finance from developed countries, which also would be “measurable, reportable and verifiable.” Developed countries, meanwhile, would consider taking “commitments or actions,” which could include emission targets. But the text binds no party to any particular outcome; it leaves completely open both the form and level of any future commitments.
Measures are technologies, processes, and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or effects below anticipated future levels. Examples of measures are renewable energy technologies, waste minimisation processes, and public transport commuting practices, etc. See also Policies.
Ministry of Economic Development.
Meeting of Parties (MOP)
MOP is the Supreme Body of the Kyoto Protocol. The first Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol firstly was held in Montreal in December 2005 during the 11th Conference of Parties.
Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC)
A zonally averaged, large scale meridional (north-south) overturning circulation in the oceans. In the Atlantic such a circulation transports relatively warm upper-ocean waters northward, and relatively cold deep waters southward. The Gulf Stream forms part of this Atlantic circulation.
The mesosphere is a layer of Earth’s atmosphere. The mesosphere is above the stratosphere layer. The mesosphere starts at 50kilometres above Earth’s surface and goes up to 85 kilometres high. As you get higher in the mesosphere, the temperature gets colder. The top of the mesosphere is the coldest part of the Earth’s atmosphere. The temperature there is around -90° C. See stratosphere, troposphere and atmosphere.
Methane (CH4)
Methane is one of the six greenhouse gases included under the Kyoto Protocol and is the major component of natural gas and associated with all hydrocarbon fuels, waste management, animal husbandry and agriculture. Coal-bed methane is the gas found in coal seams. In New Zealand the major source of methane is from animal agriculture.
Methane recovery
Methane emissions, eg from oil or gas wells, coal beds, peat bogs, gas transmission pipelines, landfills, or anaerobic digesters, may be captured and used as a fuel or for some other economic purpose (eg chemical feedstock).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Ministry for the Environment.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
A set of time-bound and measurable goals for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, discrimination against women and environmental degradation, agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.
Mining has the same meaning as in the Crown Minerals Act 1991.
Minister in relation to a Part of this Act, means the Minister who is, under authority of any warrant or under authority of the Prime Minister, responsible for the administration of the Part.
Minister responsible for the administration of this Act
This means the Minister who is, under the authority of any warrant or under the authority of the Prime Minister, responsible for the administration of this Act.
Any action that results, by design, in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by sources or enhances removals by sinks. Mitigation and abatement are often considered to be equivalent terms. Examples include using fossil fuels more efficiently for industrial processes or electricity generation, switching to solar energy or wind power, improving the insulation of buildings, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Accordingly, under Article 4.1(b) of the Convention, all Parties are required to undertake efforts to mitigate climate change.
Mitigative capacity
This is a country’s ability to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions or to enhance natural sinks, where ability refers to skills, competencies, fitness and proficiencies that a country has attained and depends on technology, institutions, wealth, equity, infrastructure and information. Mitigative capacity is rooted in a country’s sustainable development path.
Mitigation potential
In the context of climate change mitigation, the mitigation potential is the amount of mitigation that could be – but is not yet – realised over time. Market potential is the mitigation potential based on private costs and private discount rates, which might be expected to occur under forecast market conditions, including policies and measures currently in place, noting that barriers limit actual uptake. Private costs and discount rates reflect the perspective of private consumers and companies. Economic potential is the mitigation potential that takes into account social costs and benefits and social discount rates, assuming that market efficiency is improved by policies and measures and barriers are removed. Social costs and discount rates reflect the perspective of society. Social discount rates are lower than those used by private investors. Studies of market potential can be used to inform policy makers about mitigation potential with existing policies and barriers, while studies of economic potential show what might be achieved if appropriate new and additional policies were put into place to remove barriers and include social costs and benefits. The economic potential is therefore generally greater than the market potential.

Technical potential is the amount by which it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or improve energy efficiency by implementing a technology or practice that has already been demonstrated. No explicit reference to costs is made but adopting ‘practical constraints’ may take implicit economic considerations into account.
Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty is structured around several groups of halogenated hydrocarbons that have been shown to play a role in ozone depletion. All of these ozone depleting substances contain either chlorine or bromine. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987 and entered into force on January 1, 1989 followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone seven revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), and 1999 (Beijing). The UNFCCC specifically excludes greenhouse gases that are covered under the Montreal Protocol.
Ministry of Transport.
Ministry for Primary Industries.
See Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable
Mt CO2
Millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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See Nitrous oxide.
Nairobi work programme
The Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change was launched in 2005. The objective of the five-year programme is to help all countries improve their understanding of the impacts of climate change and to make informed decisions on practical adaptation actions and measures. The Nairobi work programme covers 9 areas of work: (1) methods and tools; (2) data and observations; (3) climate modelling, scenarios and downscaling; (4) climate related risks and extreme events; (5) socio-economic information; (6) adaptation planning and practices; (7) research; (8) technologies for adaptation; and (9) economic diversification.
National inventory
A quantitative report of anthropogenic emissions by sources, removals by sinks, and stocks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.
National Register or Registry
A register or registry established by an Annex I Party.
Natural Gas
Natural Gas means:
  • all gaseous hydrocarbons produced from wells, including wet gas and residual gas remaining after the extraction of condensate from wet gas,
  • any liquid hydrocarbons other than condensate extracted from wet gas and sold as natural gas liquids for example liquid petroleum gas, and
  • coal seam gas.
Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements (NGAs)
Under the government’s 2002 climate change policy package, NGAs were available to eligible firms whose international competitiveness would be placed at risk by the carbon tax. Eligible firms were to receive full or partial relief from the carbon tax in return for moving toward world’s best practice in greenhouse gas emissions management. In December 2005 the government decided not proceed with the carbon tax/NGA regime.
Net market benefits
Climate change, especially moderate climate change, is expected to bring positive and negative impacts to market-based sectors, but with significant differences across different sectors and regions and depending on both the rate and magnitude of climate change. The sum of the positive and negative market-based benefits and costs summed across all sectors and all regions for a given period is called net market benefits. Net market benefits exclude any non-market impacts.
Net position
The level of greenhouse gas emissions countries are expected to be emitting in 2008-2012 relative to New Zealand’s Kyoto Protocol obligations.
Net position report
The net position report provides an indication, using best available information at the time of projection, on how New Zealand is heading towards meeting its commitment under article 3.1 of the Kyoto Protocol. It is produced each year by the Ministry for the Environment. The net position is not a requirement of the UNFCCC or Kyoto Protocol.
Net source
A net source is an activity which emits more greenhouse gases than it absorbs over a given period. A net source cancellation is a transaction specific to the case where a LULUCF activity under Article 3.3 or 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol, which would generally result in RMU issuance through its net absorption of greenhouse gases, is found to be a net source.
New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS)
The NZ ETS is designed to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand and was announced by the government in September 2007. The NZ ETS design elements include the issuance of NZUs and the operation of an electronic register for recording and trading the NZUs.
New Zealand Unit (NZU)
A unit of emission in the New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme; in principle comparable to and backed by a Kyoto Unit.
New Zealand Emission Unit Register (NZEUR)
The NZEUR is New Zealand's national registry to manage the accounting, reporting and reconciliation of emission unit holdings and transactions as part of New Zealand's commitment and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The NZEUR has been likened to an online banking system. It contains multiple accounts and allows the transfer of emission units between those accounts and accounts in the registry systems of other Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Transactions must comply with rules specified by the Kyoto Protocol.
New Zealand Emissions Trading Register
A software system for the accounting of transactions required under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. These transactions include holdings, transfers, and surrender of emission units acceptable for compliance under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (including NZUs and certain Kyoto Protocol units) as well as emissions reporting.
New Zealand's national communication
The national communication updates a party’s progress towards its commitments under the Convention and towards implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The report covers a wide range of topics, including: policies and measures, trends and projections of greenhouse gas emissions and removals, climate research and observations, financial assistance and technology transfer to developing countries, climate change impacts and adaptation, and public participation and awareness activities.
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
One of the six types of greenhouse gases included under the Kyoto Protocol. The main anthropogenic source of nitrous oxide is agriculture (soil and animal manure management), but important contributions also come from sewage treatment, combustion of fossil fuel, and chemical industrial processes. Nitrous oxide is also produced naturally from a wide variety of biological sources in soil and water, particularly microbial action in wet tropical forests.
Non-Annex 1 Party
A Party to the UNFCCC which is not listed in Annex I to the UNFCCC. These are mostly developing countries.
Non-governmental Organisation (NGO)
A non-profit group or association organised outside of institutionalised political structures to realise particular social and/or environmental objectives or serve particular constituencies.
Non-market impacts
Impacts that affect ecosystems or human welfare, but that are not easily expressed in monetary terms, eg, an increased risk of premature death, or increases in the number of people at risk of hunger. See also market impacts.
No regret adaptation options
Adaptation options that would be justified under all plausible future scenarios including the absence of man-made climate change. A no-regret option could be one that is determined to be worthwhile now (in that it would yield immediate economic benefits which exceed its cost), and continue to be worthwhile irrespective of the nature of future climate. See also low regret options.
No-regrets options
Technology for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions whose other benefits (in terms of efficiency or reduced energy costs) are so extensive that the investment is worth it for those reasons alone. For example, combined-cycle gas turbines -- in which the heat from the burning fuel drives steam turbines while the thermal expansion of the exhaust gases drives gas turbines -- may boost the efficiency of electricity generating plants by 70 per cent.
Normal forest
Foresters’ terminology for a hypothetical forest in which all age-classes of stands are equally represented. It is a steady state system because the annual removals from the oldest stands through harvest exactly equals the annual growth from all other stands.
See New Zealand Emission Unit Register.
New Zealand Institute of Forestry.
See New Zealand Unit.

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Obligation Fuel
Obligation fuel means any fuel specified as obligation fuel in regulations made under the Emissions Trading Act.
Obligation Jet Fuel
Means any fuel specified as obligation jet fuel in regulations made under the Emissions Trading Act.
Ocean acidification
A decrease in the pH of sea water due to the uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Compensating for the effects of activities through other means. Offsetting greenhouse gas emissions could include planting trees, using nitrification inhibitors or improving the energy efficiency of farm operations.
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Circumstances to decrease the gap between the market potential of any technology or practice and the economic potential, or technical potential.
Orthographically corrected aerial photography
An aerial photograph that has had all the distortions due to camera tilt and surface relief removed. An orthophoto has the advantages of a photograph in that all visible features are displayed. It also has the constant scale and accuracy of a map.
Out-of-scheme forest land
Post-1989 forest land not entered into the ETS, including land under the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, and pre-1990 forest land for which a landowner has been granted an exemption from the ETS.
Ozone (O3)
Ozone, the tri-atomic form of oxygen, is a gaseous atmospheric constituent. In the troposphere, ozone is created both naturally and by photochemical reactions involving gases resulting from human activities (smog). Tropospheric ozone acts as a greenhouse gas. In the stratosphere, ozone is created by the interaction between solar ultraviolet radiation and molecular oxygen (O2). Stratospheric ozone plays a dominant role in the stratospheric radiative balance. Its concentration is highest in the ozone layer. See also Montreal Protocol.
Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS)
A family of man-made compounds that includes, but are not limited to, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), bromofluorocarbons (halons), methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, methyl bromide, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These compounds have been shown to deplete stratospheric ozone, and therefore are typically referred to as ODSs.
Ozone layer
Layer of gaseous ozone (O3) in the stratosphere that protects life on earth by filtering out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. See also stratosphere, ultraviolet radiation.
Ozone precursors
Chemical compounds, such as carbon monoxide, methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, which in the presence of solar radiation react with other chemical compounds to form ozone, mainly in the troposphere. See troposphere.

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Climate during periods prior to the development of measuring instruments, including historic and geologic time, for which only proxy climate records are available.
The person or persons obliged to meet emission liabilities and eligible to receive credits.
Particulate matter (PM)
Solid particles or liquid droplets suspended or carried in the air.
See particulate matter.
Parts per billion (ppb)
Number of parts of a chemical found in one billion parts of a particular gas, liquid, or solid mixture. See concentration.
Parts per million (ppm)
Number of parts of a chemical found in one million parts of a particular gas, liquid, or solid. See concentration.
A country that has ratified the UNFCCC is a Party to the UNFCCC; a country that has ratified the Kyoto Protocol is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol. Ratification is usually a two step process – first a country signs the agreement, then later it will ratify it which will sometimes mean that domestic law is required.
The increase in the consumer price of a product resulting from the imposition on the producer or supplier of a price for the product’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Patterns of climate variability
Natural variability of the climate system, in particular on seasonal and longer time scales, predominantly occurs with preferred spatial patterns and time scales, through the dynamical characteristics of the atmospheric circulation and through interactions with the land and ocean surfaces. Such patterns are often called regimes, modes or teleconnections. Examples are the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Pacific-North American pattern (PNA), the El Niño- Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Northern Annular Mode (NAM; previously called Arctic Oscillation, AO) and the Southern Annular Mode (SAM; previously called the Antarctic Oscillation, AAO). Many of the prominent modes of climate variability are discussed in section 3.6 of the Working Group I Report.
See Project Development Document.
Perceived risk
Refers to the observation that the individual or public perception of risk may differ from the perception gained by a risk assessor as a result of a technical risk assessment.
A percentile is a value on a scale of zero to one hundred that indicates the percentage of the data set values that is equal to or below it. The percentile is often used to estimate the extremes of a distribution. For example, the 90th (10th) percentile may be used to refer to the threshold for the upper (lower) extremes.
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
A group of human-made chemicals composed of carbon and fluorine only. Among the six greenhouse gases included under the Kyoto Protocol. These are by-products of aluminium smelting and uranium enrichment. They also replace chlorofluorocarbons in manufacturing semiconductors. These chemicals (predominantly CF4 and C2F6) were introduced as alternatives, along with hydrofluorocarbons, to the ozone depleting substances. PFCs do not harm the stratospheric ozone layer, but they are powerful greenhouse gases: CF4 has a global warming potential (GWP) of 6,500 and C2F6 has a GWP of 9,200.
Ground (soil or rock and included ice and organic material) that remains at or below 0°C for at least two consecutive years (Van Everdingen, 1998). See also Frozen ground.
Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI)
PFSI allows landowners to get the economic benefit of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering (storing) it in the form of new forests.
The PFSI scheme is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Petrochemical feedstock
Feedstock derived from petroleum, used principally for the manufacture of chemicals, synthetic rubber, and a variety of plastics. The categories reported are naphtha (endpoint less than 401 degrees Fahrenheit) and other oils (endpoint equal to or greater than 401 degrees Fahrenheit).
Chemicals obtained by refining (ie, distilling) crude oil. They are used as raw materials in the manufacture of most industrial chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fibers, paints, medicines, and many other products. See crude oil.
A generic term applied to oil and oil products in all forms, such as crude oil, lease condensate, unfinished oils, petroleum products, natural gas plant liquids, and non-hydrocarbon compounds blended into finished petroleum products.
See Perfluorocarbons
See Permanent Forest Sink Initiatives.
pH is a dimensionless measure of the acidity of water (or any solution). Pure water has a pH=7. Acid solutions have a pH smaller than 7 and basic solutions have a pH larger than 7. pH is measured on a logarithmic scale. Thus, a pH decrease of 1 unit corresponds to a 10-fold increase in the acidity.
The complex process by which green plants, algae and some bacteria take carbon dioxide from the air (or bicarbonate in water) to build carbohydrates (radiant energy from the sun is used to combine carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) to produce oxygen (O2) and simple nutrient molecules, such as glucose (C6H12O6)). There are several pathways of photosynthesis with different responses to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. See also Carbon dioxide fertilisation.
Planimetric area
Two-dimensional measurement of an area that does not account for topographic relief and is the standard New Zealand survey assumption used to determine land area.
Planimetric data
Spatial data that do not take topographic relief information into account for establishing position.
Point of Obligation
The point in the supply chain of a market where an obligation is placed on a person to surrender emission units to cover the direct or indirect emissions associated with their products. Participants with these obligations may themselves be referred to as points of obligation. In some cases obligations may be upstream or downstream of the actual emission point.
In United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) parlance, policies are taken and/or mandated by a government – often in conjunction with business and industry within its own country, or with other countries – to accelerate mitigation and adaptation measures. Examples of policies are carbon or other energy taxes, fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, etc. Common and co-ordinated or harmonised policies refer to those adopted jointly by parties. See also Measures.
A coherent set of a variety of measures and/or technologies that policy makers can use to achieve a postulated policy target. By widening the scope in measures and technologies more diverse events and uncertainties can be addressed.
Post-1989 forest
Formally referred to as ‘Kyoto forest’. This is Kyoto-compliant land, or forest land that was deforested between 1 January 1990 and 1 January 2008, or forest land that was deforested after 1 January 2008 and where all liabilities incurred by the Crown have been remitted to the Crown.
Post-SRES (scenarios)
Baseline and mitigation emission scenarios published after completion of the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) (Nakic4enovic4 and Swart, 2000), ie after the year 2000.
The 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 14) took place in Poznań, Poland, between December 1 and December 12, 2008. Representatives from over 180 countries attended, together with observers from intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations. Negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol were the primary focus of the conference.
Precautionary Principle
‘Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation’ (Rio declaration, 1992).
Pre-1990 forest
Pre-1990 forest is often referred to as ‘non-Kyoto forest.’ This is forest land as at 1 January 2008 that was also forest land as at 31 December 1989. All pre-1990 forest land has been automatically included in the ETS unless an exemption has been approved.
Price-based measures
Also referred to as 'economic instruments' and 'market instruments', price-based measures can be applied to integrate the costs (or opportunity costs) of greenhouse gas emissions into decision-making in the marketplace.
Price of carbon
In the New Zealand context, a shorthand term for the price of greenhouse gas emissions in a trading market, typically calculated in dollars per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Primary representative
Primary representative means an individual appointed by an account holder as the account holder’s primary representative in accordance with any regulations made under this Act.
Progressive obligation
An obligation for an Emissions Trading Scheme participant to surrender units representing some percentage of the full obligation during a transitional period. For example, under a 50 per cent obligation, a participant would surrender one emission unit for every two tonnes of emissions. A progressive obligation could increase over time until it became a full obligation to surrender one unit for each tonne of emissions.
A potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the aid of a model. Projections are distinguished from predictions in order to emphasise that projections involve assumptions concerning, for example, future socio-economic and technological developments that may or may not be realised, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty. See also Climate projection; Climate prediction.
Project development document (PDD)
A document developed to promote a project under the Clean Development Mechanism designed to sequester any GHG specified in the Kyoto Protocol. Project registration is done on the recommendation of a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) during the validation process.
Projects to Reduce Emissions (PRE)
The programme was established in 2003 to encourage domestic businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. There are now 40 projects in the PRE programme. The PRE projects have gained international recognition for their high quality, credibility and the fact that they are eligible to become emissions reduction mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol. PRE projects are eligible to become Joint Implementation (JI) initiatives. This means that PRE project owners can sell the emission units they ‘earn’ through the JI mechanism.
Purchasing power parity (PPP)
The purchasing power of a currency is expressed using a basket of goods and services that can be bought with a given amount in the home country. International comparison of eg Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of countries can be based on the purchasing power of currencies rather than on current exchange rates. PPP estimates tend to lower per capita GDPs in industrialised countries and raise per capita GDPs in developing countries.

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Quality Assurance
A system for evaluating performance such as the delivery of services or the quality of scientific data being produced.
Quality control
A system for ensuring the maintenance of proper standards in the gathering of scientific information, especially by periodic random inspection of the product.
Quantified Emission Limitations and Reduction Objectives (QELRO)
International negotiations through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have led to the establishment of Quantified Emission Limitations and Reduction Objectives (QELRO) for industrialised countries – most notably the United States, European Union and Japan. QELRO are to be achieved through both domestic and international actions using an emerging international trading system for GHG emissions. One international approach available to these countries has been tested for several years: to offset their industrial emissions, parties in industrialised countries have invested in low-cost carbon dioxide mitigation projects in developing countries that reduce, avoid, or sequester GHG emissions.

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Radiative forcing
Radiative forcing is the change in the net, downward minus upward, irradiance (expressed in Watts per square metre, W/m2) at the tropopause due to a change in an external driver of climate change, such as, for example, a change in the concentration of carbon dioxide or the output of the Sun. Radiative forcing is computed with all tropospheric properties held fixed at their unperturbed values, and after allowing for stratospheric temperatures, if perturbed, to readjust to radiative-dynamical equilibrium. Radiative forcing is called instantaneous if no change in stratospheric temperature is accounted for. For the purposes of this report, radiative forcing is further defined as the change relative to the year 1750 and, unless otherwise noted, refers to a global and annual average value.
An amount intended to refund the cost of a policy measure. For example, under the former carbon tax/Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements (NGA) regime, rebates were available to NGA firms to compensate them for increased electricity prices resulting from the carbon tax applied to fossil fuels.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)
A proposed mechanism to compensate countries who reduce their emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation. Its aim is to spur a flow of funds to tropical countries, helping preserve rainforests and delivering economic benefits to impoverished rural communities. Most REDD proposals identify global funds or emissions trading markets (or both) as preferred sources of funding.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership.
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.
A region is a territory characterised by specific geographical and climatological features. The climate of a region is affected by regional and local scale forcings like topography, land-use characteristics, lakes etc., as well as remote influences from other regions.
Regional climate model (RCM)
Local climate change is influenced greatly by local features such as mountains, which are not well represented in global models (GCMs) because of their coarse resolution. Models of higher resolution cannot practically be used for global simulation of long periods of time. To overcome this, regional climate models, with a higher resolution (typically 50 km) are constructed for limited areas and run for shorter periods (20 years or so). RCMs take their input at their boundaries and for sea-surface conditions from the GCMs.
Registered carbon certifier
A contractor or consultant approved by the administering agency to carry out carbon assessments. A Registered Carbon Certifier will be an NZIF-registered forestry consultant (or a person of equivalent standing acceptable to the administering agency) who has met competency requirements for forest inventory and carbon measurement methods. Only carbon stock assessments signed off by a Registered Carbon Certifier will be accepted.
Registered forestry right
A right (registered on the land title) under the Forestry Rights Registration Act (1983) that allows the holder to use the land specified in the right for forestry purposes.
Registered lease
A lease of land registered on the land title.
A software system for the accounting of transactions in AAUs, RMUs, ERUs, CERs, tCERs and lCERs. Includes national registries and the CDM registry.
Exemptions and rebates designed to offset the cost of a policy measure, such as a tax or other charge.
Remote sensing
Practice of acquiring and using data from satellites and aerial photography to infer or measure land cover/use. May be used in combination with ground surveys to check the accuracy of interpretation.
Removals are a subset of fellings (the commercial part destined for processing). The ‘Removals’ term should only be used in this forestry context, not as synonym for carbon sink. They are the 'opposite' of emissions of greenhouse gasses.
Removal units (RMUs)
These are tradable units generated on the basis of removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through LULUCF activities under Articles 3.3 and 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol. They may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target. One RMU is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
Renewable energy
Energy obtained from sources that can be replenished, like water, wood, wind, geothermal or solar energy.
Renewable Energy Certificates (REC)
Renewable Energy Certificates are an electronic form of currency initiated by the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. They may be created on the internet based registry system (known as the REC Registry), by eligible parties for each megawatt-hour of eligible renewable electricity generated. also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are tradable environmental commodities in the United States which represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was renewable (generated from an eligible renewable energy resource).
Replacement ETS unit
An emissions unit purchased to replace a post-1989 forest land unit which has previously been sold.
Where a greenhouse gas is stored in a terrestrial system or below ground and the system is neither growing nor losing greenhouse gas nor its precursor (carbon) from or to the atmosphere.
The ability of a social or ecological system to absorb disturbances while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning, the capacity for self-organisation, and the capacity to adapt to stress and change.
The process whereby living organisms convert organic matter to CO2, releasing energy and consuming O2.
Retirement Account (or Surrender)
Kyoto units may be transferred to a retirement (or surrender) account in the NZEUR when they are used as an offset for emissions. From this account, they may be further retired by the Crown to the UNFCCC at the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto units and voluntary carbon credits may be transferred for a number of reasons:

When Kyoto units or voluntary carbon credits are to be shifted to another registry that is not directly linked, they are cancelled in the first registry and are reissued – they may be further traded from the second registry

When Kyoto units or voluntary carbon credits are found to be listed in active holding accounts in two registries at the same time, they need to be cancelled from one of the registries

Kyoto units may be cancelled without being used (retired or surrendered) in order to reduce the quantity of allowed emissions units available

Under a voluntary carbon market scheme, issued credits might also be cancelled instead of being used to offset emissions

Should a forest sinks project lose some of the previously credited sequestered carbon through fire, flood or accidental harvesting, the equivalent amount of carbon credits must be cancelled

As international air travel and international maritime freight are not included in New Zealand’s national greenhouse gas emissions inventory, if Kyoto units are being used to offset these emissions, they must be cancelled to ensure that these emissions have been properly offset.
Retrofitting means to install new or modified parts or equipment, or undertake structural modifications, to existing infrastructure that were either not available or not considered necessary at the time of construction. The purpose of retrofitting in the context of climate change is generally to ensure that existing infrastructure meets new design specifications that may be required under altered climate conditions.
Revenue recycling
Involves using revenue from the sale of emission units to reduce other taxes that create economic distortions. Recycling revenue can reduce the overall cost to the economy of controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
Reversal of storage
A reversal of storage refers to a case in which an afforestation or reforestation activity under a CDM project is found to be a net source. Where this CDM project has previously generated the issuance of lCERs (see Kyoto Units) through its net absorption of greenhouse gases, a reversal of storage would require replacement of lCERs equal to the quantity of the reversal of storage.
Rio Conventions/Declaration
Three environmental conventions, two of which were adopted at the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), while the third, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was adopted in 1994. The issues addressed by the three treaties are related -- in particular, climate change can have adverse effects on desertification and biodiversity -- and through a Joint Liaison Group, the secretariats of the three conventions take steps to coordinate activities to achieve common progress.
A characteristic of a system or decision where the probabilities that certain states or outcomes have occurred or may occur are precisely known. Risk is a combination of the chance or probability of an event occurring, and the impact or consequence associated with that event. Decisions that involve risk are a special case of uncertain decisions where the probabilities are precisely known.
Risk assessment
The process by which hazards and consequences are identified, characterised as to their probability and magnitude, and their significance assessed.
Risk management
Any action or portfolio of actions that aim to reduce the probability and magnitude of unwanted consequences (or vice versa), or manage the consequences of realised risks. See also Mitigation.
See Removal Units.
That part of precipitation that does not evaporate and is not transpired, but flows over the ground surface and returns to bodies of water. See also Hydrological cycle

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The accumulation of salts in soils.
Saltwater intrusion
Displacement of fresh surface water or groundwater by the advance of saltwater due to its greater density. This usually occurs in coastal and estuarine areas due to reducing land-based influence (eg, either from reduced runoff and associated groundwater recharge, or from excessive water withdrawals from aquifers) or increasing marine influence (eg, relative sea-level rise).
See Subsidiary Body for Implementation
See Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice
A plausible and often simplified description of how the future may develop based on a coherent and internally consistent set of assumptions about driving forces and key relationships. Scenarios may be derived from projections, but are often based on additional information from other sources, sometimes combined with a narrative storyline. See also SRES scenarios; Climate scenario; Emission scenarios.
Sea level change/sea level rise
An increase in the mean level of the ocean. Eustatic sea-level rise is a change in global average sea level brought about by an increase in the volume of the world ocean. Relative sea-level rise occurs where there is a local increase in the level of the ocean relative to the land, which might be due to ocean rise and/or land level subsidence. In areas subject to rapid land-level uplift, relative sea level can fall.
Second Assessment Report (SAR)
An extensive review of worldwide research on climate change compiled by the IPCC and published in 1995. Some 2,000 scientists and experts participated. The report is also known as Climate Change 1995. The SAR concluded that "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate." It also said "no-regrets options" and other cost-effective strategies exist for combating climate change.
The office staffed by international civil servants responsible for "servicing" the UNFCCC Convention and ensuring its smooth operation. The secretariat makes arrangements for meetings, compiles and prepares reports, and coordinates with other relevant international bodies. The Climate Change Secretariat, which is based in Bonn, Germany, is institutionally linked to the United Nations.
Sensitivity is the degree to which a system is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate variability or climate change. The effect may be direct (eg, a change in crop yield in response to a change in the mean, range, or variability of temperature) or indirect (eg, damages caused by an increase in the frequency of coastal flooding due to sea level rise). This concept of sensitivity is not to be confused with climate sensitivity, which is defined separately above.
The uptake and storage of carbon. Carbon can be sequestered by plants and soil and in underground/deep sea reservoirs. (Underground storage is also called geological sequestration.)
See sulphurhexafluoride.
A digital file format particular to software products from the Environmental Research Systems Institute (ESRI) and used within a GIS to geographically describe points, lines and polygons, as well as associated attribute information.
Small Island Developing States … used to distinguish between eg Kiribati and Singapore.
A trait marking one phenomenon or aspect as distinct from others; something singular, distinct, peculiar, uncommon or unusual.
Any process, activity or mechanism which actively removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol from the atmosphere. Also known as sequestration. Notation in the final stages of reporting is the negative (-) sign. A sink is distinct from a reservoir where greenhouse gases can be stored, such as an underground reservoir or a mature forest.
Sink Credits
Are units earned from the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. See RMUs and Kyoto Units
Site index
Is a forestry term defined as the mean height at age 20 years of the largest-diameter 100 trees per hectare. This determines the likely volume and quality of timber at harvest. A high site index area will tend to produce trees that are straighter, with little taper, longer internodes, smaller branches, and less nodal swelling than trees from a low site index area, other factors being equal.
Snow pack
A seasonal accumulation of slow-melting snow.
Soil organic matter
Includes organic carbon in mineral and organic soils (including peat) to a specified depth chosen by the country and applied consistently through the time series. Live fine roots (of less than the suggested diameter limit for below-ground biomass) are included with soil organic matter where they cannot be distinguished from it empirically.
Soil temperature
The temperature of the ground near the surface (often within the first 10 cm).
Solar activity
The Sun exhibits periods of high activity observed in numbers of sunspots, as well as radiative output, magnetic activity, and emission of high energy particles. These variations take place on a range of time-scales from millions of years to minutes
Solar radiation
Electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun. It is also referred to as shortwave radiation. Solar radiation has a distinctive range of wavelengths (spectrum) determined by the temperature of the Sun, peaking in visible wavelengths. See also Thermal infrared radiation, Total solar irradiance, Ultraviolet radiation
Source mostly refers to any process, activity or mechanism that releases a greenhouse gas, an aerosol, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol into the atmosphere. Source can also refer to eg an energy source. Notation in the final stages of reporting is the positive (+) sign.
Spatial and temporal scales
Climate may vary on a large range of spatial and temporal scales. Spatial scales may range from local (less than 100,000 km2), through regional (100,000 to 10 million km2) to continental (10 to 100 million km2). Temporal scales may range from seasonal to geological (up to hundreds of millions of years).
Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)
The SCCF was established to finance projects relating to adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management; and economic diversification. This fund should complement other funding mechanisms for the implementation of the Convention. The Global Environment Facility (GEF), as the entity that operates the financial mechanism of the Convention, has been entrusted to operate this fund.
SRES scenarios
SRES scenarios are emission scenarios developed by Nakicenovic and Swart (2000) and used, among others, as a basis for some of the climate projections used in the Fourth Assessment Report. The following terms are relevant for a better understanding of the structure and use of the set of SRES scenarios: Scenario Family: Scenarios that have a similar demographic, societal, economic and technical-change storyline. Four scenario families comprise the SRES scenario set: A1, A2, B1 and B2. Illustrative Scenario: A scenario that is illustrative for each of the six scenario groups reflected in the Summary for Policymakers of Nakic4enovic4 et al. (2000). They include four revised ‘scenario markers’ for the scenario groups A1B, A2, B1, B2, and two additional scenarios for the A1FI and A1T groups. All scenario groups are equally sound. Marker Scenario: A scenario that was originally posted in draft form on the SRES website to represent a given scenario family. The choice of markers was based on which of the initial quantifications best reflected the storyline, and the features of specific models. Markers are no more likely than other scenarios, but are considered by the SRES writing team as illustrative of a particular storyline. They are included in revised form in Nakic4enovic4 and Swart (2000). These scenarios received the closest scrutiny of the entire writing team and via the SRES open process. Scenarios were also selected to illustrate the other two scenario groups. Storyline: A narrative description of a scenario (or family of scenarios), highlighting the main scenario characteristics, relationships between key driving forces and the dynamics of their evolution.
Keeping constant the atmospheric concentrations of one or more greenhouse gases (eg carbon dioxide) or of a CO2-equivalent basket of greenhouse gases. Stabilisation analyses or scenarios address the stabilisation of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
A person or an organisation that has a legitimate interest in a project or entity, or would be affected by a particular action or policy.
A cluster of trees of similar properties, including species (or species mix), tree age, stocking and silvicultural history. The word can also refer to the land on which such trees are growing. A stand is a sub-set of a forest. While stands may be clearfelled at periodic intervals, it is not usual for a whole forest to be clearfelled.
Set of rules or codes mandating or defining product performance (eg, grades, dimensions, characteristics, test methods, and rules for use). Product, technology or performance standards establish minimum requirements for affected products or technologies. Standards impose reductions in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture or use of the products and/or application of the technology.
Stationary energy
Energy other than that used in transport. It includes emissions from electricity generation, from fuels consumed in the manufacturing, construction and commercial sectors, and from other sources such as domestic heating.
The number of stems or trees per hectare.
Storm surge
The temporary increase, at a particular locality, in the height of the sea due to extreme meteorological conditions (low atmospheric pressure and/or strong winds). The storm surge is defined as being the excess above the level expected from the tidal variation alone at that time and place.
Storm tracks
Originally, a term referring to the tracks of individual cyclonic weather systems, but now often generalised to refer to the regions where the main tracks of extratropical disturbances occur as sequences of low (cyclonic) and high (anticyclonic) pressure systems.
The highly stratified region of the atmosphere above the troposphere extending from about 10 km (ranging from 9 km in high latitudes to 16 km in the tropics on average) to about 50 km altitude. The temperature in the upper stratosphere generally increases with height due to absorption of solar radiation by ozone.
Structural change
Changes, for example, in the relative share of Gross Domestic Product produced by the industrial, agricultural, or services sectors of an economy; or more generally, systems transformations whereby some components are either replaced or potentially substituted by other ones.
Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)
A subsidiary body of the UNFCCC. The SBI gives advice to the Conference of the Parties on all matters concerning the implementation of the Convention. A particularly important task in this respect is to examine the information in the national communications and emission inventories submitted by Parties in order to assess the Convention’s overall effectiveness. The SBI reviews the financial assistance given to non-Annex I Parties to help them implement their Convention commitments, and provides advice to the COP on guidance to the financial mechanism (operated by the GEF). The SBI also advises the COP on budgetary and administrative matters.
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA)
A subsidiary body of the UNFCCC. The SBSTA provides the Conference of the Parties with advice on scientific, technological and methodological matters. Two key areas of work in this regard are promoting the development and transfer of environmentally-friendly technologies, and conducting technical work to improve the guidelines for preparing national communications and emission inventories. The SBSTA also carries out methodological work in specific areas, such as the LULUCF sector, HFCs and PFCs, and adaptation and vulnerability. In addition, the SBSTA plays an important role as the link between the scientific information provided by expert sources such as the IPCC on the one hand, and the policy-oriented needs of the COP on the other. It works closely with the IPCC, sometimes requesting specific information or reports from it, and also collaborates with other relevant international organizations that share the common objective of sustainable development.
Sulphurhexafluoride (SF6)
One of the six greenhouse gases included 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 and semi-conductors.
Surface temperature
See Global surface temperature.
Surrender means the transfer of a unit to a surrender account in the Registry. Once a Kyoto unit has been transferred to the government’s surrender account, the government may retire it for compliance under the Kyoto Protocol.
Surrender account
Surrender account means an account in the Registry for the purpose of holding units that account holders have surrendered.
Meeting the needs of communities or countries without compromising the wellbeing of future generations.
Sustainable development (SD)
Development that meets the cultural, social, political and economic needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainable development was introduced in the World Conservation Strategy (IUCN 1980) and had its roots in the concept of a sustainable society and in the management of renewable resources. Adopted by the WCED in 1987 and by the Rio Conference in 1992 as a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. SD integrates the political, social, economic and environmental dimensions.
Sustainable land management
A government programme aiming to promote sustainable land management practices on erosion-prone hill country.

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TAB file
A digital file format particular to software products from the MapInfo Corporation and used within a GIS to geographically describe points, lines and polygons as well as the associated attribute information.
Tāngata whenua
In relation to a particular area, means the iwi, or hapū, that holds mana whenua over that area (where mana whenua means customary authority exercised by an iwi, or hapū, in an identified area).
A carbon tax is a levy on the carbon content of fossil fuels. Because virtually all of the carbon in fossil fuels is ultimately emitted as carbon dioxide, a carbon tax is equivalent to an emission tax on each unit of CO2-equivalent emissions. An energy tax - a levy on the energy content of fuels - reduces demand for energy and so reduces carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use. An eco-tax is designed to influence human behaviour (specifically economic behaviour) to follow an ecologically benign path. An international carbon/emission/energy tax is a tax imposed on specified sources in participating countries by an international agreement. A harmonised tax commits participating countries to impose a tax at a common rate on the same sources. A tax credit is a reduction of tax in order to stimulate purchasing of or investment in a certain product, like GHG emission reducing technologies. A carbon charge is the same as a carbon tax.
Transaction Cost
See Temporary Certified Emission Reduction unit. These are tradable units generated by Projects that enhance removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in Non-Annex I Parties under the CDM. tCERs expire at the end of the Commitment Period subsequent to the Commitment Period within which they were issued. tCERs may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target and are equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs)
A TAG has the role of providing guidance and advice on technical design elements of a project. The Terms of Reference of a TAG are usually specific to a particular project and/or the development of a Bill. For example the Stationary Energy and Industrial Process TAG has contributed relevant advice on stationary energy and industrial process components in the development of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and via this to outcomes under the New Zealand Energy Strategy.
Technological change
Mostly considered as technological improvement, ie more or better goods and services can be provided from a given amount of resources (production factors). Economic models distinguish autonomous (exogenous), endogenous and induced technological change. Autonomous (exogenous) technological change is imposed from outside the model, usually in the form of a time trend affecting energy demand or world output growth. Endogenous technological change is the outcome of economic activity within the model, ie the choice of technologies is included within the model and affects energy demand and/or economic growth. Induced technological change implies endogenous technological change but adds further changes induced by policies and measures, such as carbon taxes triggering R&D efforts.
Technology transfer
The exchange of knowledge, hardware and associated software, money and goods among stakeholders that leads to the spreading of technology for adaptation or mitigation The term encompasses both diffusion of technologies and technological cooperation across and within countries.
Temporary Certified Emission Reduction Units (tCER)
These are tradable units generated by Projects that enhance removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in Non-Annex I Parties under the CDM.

tCERs expire at the end of the Commitment Period subsequent to the Commitment Period within which they were issued. tCERs may be counted by Annex I Parties towards compliance with their emissions target and are equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent gases.
Thermal expansion
In connection with sea-level rise, this refers to the increase in volume (and decrease in density) that results from warming water. A warming of the ocean leads to an expansion of the ocean volume and hence an increase in sea level. See also Sea level change.
Third Assessment Report (TAR)
The third extensive review of global scientific research on climate change, published by the IPCC in 2001. Among other things, the report stated that "The Earth's climate system has demonstrably changed on both global and regional scales since the pre-industrial era, with some of these changes attributable to human activities. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities." The TAR also focused on the regional effects of climate change.
1. Criteria that define which firms, sites or other business units are required to participate in a policy measure.
2. The level of magnitude of a system process at which sudden or rapid change occurs. A point or level at which new properties emerge in an ecological, economic or other system, invalidating predictions based on mathematical relationships that apply at lower levels.
Tide gauge
A device at a coastal location (and some deep sea locations) that continuously measures the level of the sea with respect to the adjacent land. Time averaging of the sea level so recorded gives the observed secular changes of the relative sea level. See also Sea level change/sea level rise.
Tikanga Māori
Māori customary values and practices.
Top-down models
Top-down model apply macroeconomic theory, econometric and optimization techniques to aggregate economic variables. Using historical data on consumption, prices, incomes, and factor costs, top-down models assess final demand for goods and services, and supply from main sectors, like the energy sector, transportation, agriculture, and industry. Some topdown models incorporate technology data, narrowing the gap to bottomup models.
Total solar irradiance (TSI)
The amount of solar radiation received outside the Earth’s atmosphere on a surface normal to the incident radiation, and at the Earth’s mean distance from the sun. Reliable measurements of solar radiation can only be made from space and the precise record extends back only to 1978. The generally accepted value is 1,368 Watts per square meter (W/m2) with an accuracy of about 0.2%. Variations of a few tenths of a percent are common, usually associated with the passage of sunspots across the solar disk. The solar cycle variation of TSI is on the order of 0.1%. Source: AMS, 2000.
Track- two JI
One of two approaches for verifying emission reductions or removals under joint implementation, whereby each JI project is subject to verification procedures established under the supervision of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee. Track two procedures require that each project by reviewed by an accredited independent entity.
Tradable permit
A tradable permit is an economic policy instrument under which rights to discharge pollution – in this case an amount of greenhouse gas emissions – can be exchanged through either a free or a controlled permit-market. An emission permit is a non-transferable or tradable entitlement allocated by a government to a legal entity (company or other emitter) to emit a specified amount of a substance.
Inventory definition: Transparency means that the assumptions and methodologies used for an inventory should be clearly explained to facilitate replication and assessment of the inventory by users of the reported information. The transparency of inventories is fundamental to the success of the process for the communication and consideration of information.
Treaty of Waitangi
A broad statement of principles on which the British Crown and Māori made a political compact to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand.
A woody component of a forest (see definition) that has the potential to reach five metres in height in its actual position.
The boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.
The lowest part of the atmosphere from the Earth's surface to about 10 km in altitude in mid-latitudes (ranging from 9 km in high latitudes to 16 km in the tropics on average) where clouds and "weather" phenomena occur. In the troposphere temperatures generally decrease with height. See ozone precursors, mesosphere, stratosphere, and atmosphere.
True-up period
The period from the end of the Commitment Period (2012) until 100 days after the completion of the Kyoto Protocol reviews of emissions information relating to the Commitment Period. Transfers of units may continue to take place during this period. The true-up period may therefore last until some time in 2015.

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Ultraviolet radiation (UV)
A portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum. Although ultraviolet radiation constitutes only about five percent of the total energy emitted from the sun, it is the major energy source for the stratosphere and mesosphere, playing a dominant role in both energy balance and chemical composition. Most ultraviolet radiation is blocked by Earth's atmosphere, but some solar ultraviolet penetrates and aids in plant photosynthesis and helps produce vitamin D in humans.
Umbrella group
A loose coalition of non-European Union developed countries formed following the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol. Although there is no formal membership list, the group usually includes Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United States.
An expression of the degree to which a value (eg, the future state of the climate system) is unknown. Uncertainty can result from lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. It may have many types of sources, from quantifiable errors in the data to ambiguously defined concepts or terminology, or uncertain projections of human behaviour. Uncertainty can therefore be represented by quantitative measures, for example, a range of values calculated by various models, or by qualitative statements, for example, reflecting the judgement of a team of experts (see Moss and Schneider, 2000; Manning et al., 2004). See also Likelihood; Confidence.
See United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (or the 'Earth Summit'), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 1992 at which more than 178 Governments adopted Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests. In addition, two treaties were opened for signature: the CBD and the UNFCCC.
See United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
A unit means an emission unit or carbon credit.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to land degradation in the drylands where exist some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and people in the world.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP collaborates with a wide range of partners throughout the UN system and beyond to provide information on the state of the planet’s natural resources and their contribution to sustainable development.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
This is the framework treaty to which the Kyoto Protocol is allied. The Convention was adopted on 9 May 1992 in New York and signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries and the European Community. It aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids dangerous human interference with the climate system. Under the Convention, Parties included in Annex I (all OECD member countries in the year 1990 and countries with economies in transition) aim to return greenhouse gas emissions not controlled by the Montreal Protocol to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The Convention entered in force in March 1994. See Kyoto Protocol.
The addition of a substance of concern to a reservoir. The uptake of carbon containing substances, in particular carbon dioxide, is often called (carbon) sequestration.
Urban heat island
A metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surroundings.
The conversion of land from a natural state or managed natural state (such as agriculture) to cities; a process driven by net rural-to-urban migration through which an increasing percentage of the population in any nation or region come to live in settlements that are defined as urban centres.

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The assessment of a project’s PDD (see project development document) which describes its design including its baseline and monitoring plan, before the implementation of the project against the requirements of the clean development mechanism (CDM).
The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) is a quality standard for the voluntary carbon offset industry. Based on the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, VCS establishes criteria for validating, measuring and monitoring carbon offset projects.
An organism, such as an insect, that transmits a pathogen from one host to another.
The periodic independent review and ex post determination by a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) of monitored reductions in anthropogenic emissions by sources of greenhouse gas that have occurred as a result of a registered clean development mechanism activity during the verification period.
Verified Emissions Reduction (VER)
Emissions reductions for voluntary markets that are not compliant with the Kyoto Protocol are available for sale to corporations and individuals who want to offset their emissions for non-regulatory purposes. VERs are not a standardised commodity.
Voluntary action
Informal programmes, self-commitments and declarations, where the parties (individual companies or groups of companies) entering into the action set their own targets and often do their own monitoring and reporting.
Voluntary agreement
An agreement between a government authority and one or more private parties to achieve environmental objectives or to improve environmental performance beyond compliance to regulated obligations. Not all voluntary agreements are truly voluntary; some include rewards and/or penalties associated with joining or achieving commitments.
Voluntary Market
Voluntary markets for emissions reductions cover those buyers and sellers of Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) or voluntary carbon units (VCUs), which seek to manage their emission exposure for non-regulatory purposes.
Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity.

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Waste means anything that has been disposed of or discarded and includes waste that is defined by its composition or source (for example organic waste, electronic waste or construction and demolition waste).
Water consumption
Amount of extracted water irretrievably lost during its use (by evaporation and goods production). Water consumption is equal to water withdrawal minus return flow.
Water stress
A country is water stressed if the available freshwater supply relative to water withdrawals acts as an important constraint on development. In global-scale assessments, basins with water stress are often defined as having a per capita water availability below 1000 m3/yr (based on long-term average runoff). Withdrawals exceeding 20% of renewable water supply have also been used as an indicator of water stress. A crop is water stressed if soil available water, and thus actual evapotranspiration, is less than potential evapotranspiration demands.
Water vapour
The gas phase of water. Gaseous water represents a small but environmentally significant constituent of the atmosphere. Approximately 99.99% of it is contained in the troposphere. The condensation of water vapour to the liquid or ice phase is responsible for clouds, rain, snow and other precipitation, all of which count among the most significant elements of what we experience as weather. Water vapour is also a potent greenhouse gas.

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In the context of GST, it means where GST is charged, but at a rate of zero percent. Input tax which is incurred when making zero-rated supplies is deductible from a business' overall GST liability.

Last updated: 9 August 2012