Glossary

Biocapacity

Biocapacity describes the ability of ecosystems to produce biologically useful material and to absorb man-made waste. Furthermore, an ecological deficit is defined as the ecological footprint of a population exceeding its biocapacity.

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Biomass / Biogas

According to the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive, biomass is the biodegradable part of products, waste, and residues from agriculture, forestry and related industries (including fisheries and aquaculture).

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Carbon Budget

The CO2 budget indicates the amount of greenhouse gases that humanity “is allowed” to emit into the atmosphere in order to reach the 1.5°C target of the Paris Climate Convention.

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Carbon Credit

A carbon credit allows the owner, usually a company, to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. One certificate stands for one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).

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Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a molecule in the air consisting of carbon and oxygen. Although air consists of only 0.038% CO2, it is one of the most important greenhouse gases and contributes significantly to climate change.

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Carbon Disclosure Project

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent and non-commercial organisation. The organisation has the largest database on companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and their climate change strategies.

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Carbon Markets

Carbon markets enable the trading of emission units. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting limits on emissions.

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Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutrality doesn’t necessarily mean, that one doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide (or other GHG). Instead, it means having a balance between the amount of emitted carbon and the amount of absorbed carbon from the atmosphere.

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Circular Economy

The current state of the economy consumes many fossil resources (i.e. they are not infinite) and generates a lot of waste, which can only be converted back into usable materials by using large amounts of energy.

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Climate Action

Climate Action is a general but widely used term. It describes every action, every step and every contribution that a private person, a company or other organisations implement and contribute to active climate protection.

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Direct Emissions

Including Scope 1 emissions. Direct emissions can be credited directly to the organization because they are producing them.

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Emission rights

The measures set out by the Kyoto Protocol limited the amount of CO2 that can be emitted and decided that greenhouse gases can only be released into the atmosphere with a permit.

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ESG

ESG is the abbreviation for Environmental, social, and governance. It provides criteria, especially for investors, to help find companies with values that match their own and to take not only the economic performance into account for their investment decision.

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Forestry

Forestry describes the management of forest land including associated water bodies and wasteland. Forest clearing and the replanting of trees are the primary activities of forestry.

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Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

Greenhouse gases (GHG) describe (trace) gases that are responsible for the so-called greenhouse effect, which is considered the main cause of climate change. They can occur both naturally and anthropogenically.

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GHG Protocol

The GHG Protocol is a globally recognized standard for measuring and managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from companies and their value chains, as well as emission reduction measures.

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Hydropower

In short, hydropower is the energy in moving water. Hydropower was one of the first sources of energy to be used to generate electricity. Its principle is based on the water cycle, which consists of three steps.

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Indirect Emissions

Indirect emissions includes Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. Indirect GHG emissions result from the activities of the reporting company, but occur elsewhere and are owned or controlled by another company.

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Net Zero Emissions

Net zero emissions describes the general objective to combat climate change. Net zero in this context does not only mean the necessary and drastic reduction of emissions, which are especially caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

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Ozone-depleting Substance (ODS)

Substances that have a positive ozone depletion potential (ODP) can thin the stratospheric ozone layer. Most of the ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are controlled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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Offset

Carbon offsetting is a way to pursue carbon neutrality. Therefore, emissions from one company / country / industry sector are countered by an emission reduction somewhere else.

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Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)

The Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were developed for the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on -Climate Change (IPCC). They are values which represent four future scenarios of changes in radiative forcing due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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Science Based Targets Initiative

The Science Based Targets initiative, launched in 2015, promotes science-based targets to strengthen the competitive position of companies that (want to) move to a low-carbon economy. The companies participating in the initiative’s call-to-action commit themselves to setting a science-based climate target within the next two years.

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Scope 1 Emissions

Scope 1 emissions include GHG that arise from the combustion of fuels owned or controlled by the reporting organization.

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Scope 2 Emissions

Scope 2 emissions include GHG emissions that result from the consumption of purchased or acquired energy such as electricity, heating, cooling, and steam.

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Scope 3 Emissions

Scope 3 emissions include the remainder of indirect GHG emissions which cannot be categorized as energy-related emissions in Scope 2.

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Solar Power

Solar power uses the sun’s energy. To do this, photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electricity. The process looks like this: Sunlight consists of photons or particles of solar energy.

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Sustainability

The term “sustainability” is multifaceted and can be applied in many different areas and interpreted in various ways. According to the Brundtland Report (1987), sustainability can be described as follows: Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

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Tipping Points

A tipping point is described as a “point of no return” in the Earth’s climate system, which denotes a threshold value, the exceeding of which leads to irreversible changes. Exceeding these limits will transform a gradual, linear process into a very steep exponential course.

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Wind Power

The energy of wind power comes from moving air. The natural process is the following: wind is caused by uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun. Since the surface of the earth consists of different types of land and water, it absorbs the sun’s heat at different speeds.

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