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Glossary of Terms

Being Responsible for our surroundings plays a important role in the Sustainability Process,

From growing up on a farm I always wondered why people didn't have water tanks on normal house blocks, as people took water for granted. I also wondered why the paddocks were not used all the time, and now understand why a paddock was rested to let the grass grow back. We always had to measure how much water was in the tanks, to see if there was enough water for the animals and a shower at the end of the day. We didn't have the benefit of a city water supply, the road was dirt and was smoother driving on the footpath than the road, and it was often that the person coming the other way had the same idea. Now the road has a bitumen seal and the city rim expanded to parts of town where it would take an hour to get there before the highway's were put into place.

If we take the business as usual method then there will be a increase in emissions and activity. We therefore all need to take steps to reduce our impact on the environment as nothing last's forever. A prime example is paint on a house, this usually lasts for 10 Years. When we moved into our house i thought paint would last forever, i was in for a rude shock when the paint started to peel of the walls.

There is a finite amount of rescourses and if we run out, what are we going to do. That is why we need to look at other measures to create energy, so we don't abuse what we are fortunate to have.

Common Sence is not so common in trying to work out what everybody needs to do, without the politicial debate on which policy to follow. We all have to be responsible it's that simple. 

Please find Glossary of terms below:



Abatement: A project or activity which removes GHG from the atmosphere or reduces emissions of these gasses below what they would otherwise have been.

Additional Abatement: Activities that deliver a reduction in the amount of GHG in the atmosphere that is beyond, or additional, “business-as-usual’. This is often referred to as the ‘additionality’ of an offset project.

Afforestation: Afforestaton is the planting of new forests on land not recently used as forest land.

 Auctioning: A method of allocating permits (units) into the market through an auction process.

Australian Emissions Unit (AEU):  The term used in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation to refer to a permit which gives the holder the right to emit one metric ton of carbon dioxide.

Australia Climate Change Regulatory Authority: This Authority will administer all Commonwealth climate change regulations, including the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme.


Banking: Net banking of permits by they private sector (that is, permits purchased in excess of current acquittal liability may be held as an asset on a firm’s balance sheet).

Borrowing: Official lending of permits by the authorities to the private sector. The private sector party incurs a liability to repay the permits at a future date. (Note, this differs from the commonly held notion of  “borrowing” which allows an obliged party to any use future dated permits that it  may hold to acquit its current obligations. The proposed scheme does not entail date stamped permits.)


CAMAC: Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee. This committee established under Part 9 of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 1989, advises the Australian Government on the operation and reform of corporations legislation, the efficiency of financial markets and the regulation of companies generally.

Cap and Trade: A cap and trade system involves the trading of emission allowances, where the total allowance is strictly limited or ‘capped’. A regulatory authority establishes the cap which is usually considerably lower than the historic level of emissions. Trading occurs when an entity with excess permits, either through actions taken or improvements made, sells them to an entity that needs permits to offset an increase in emissions or a inability to make cost-effective reductions.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Technology used to capture and store CO2 emissions. Captured CO2 can be store din a variety of geological or ocean sites.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e): The universal unit of measurement used to indicate the global warming potential of each of the six greenhouse gases. CO2e is used to evaluate the impacts of releasing ( or avoiding the release of) different greenhouse gases.

Carbon Footprint: A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels; it is commonly used at an individual, household or business level.

Carbon Finance: Achieving climate change mitigation and managing climate change risk through market mechanisms.

Carbon Leakage: The effect when a firm facing increased costs in on country due to an emissions price chooses to reduce, close or relocate production or to close or relocate production to a country with less stringent climate change policies.

Carbon Neutral: A series of actions by an organization that are designed to reduce that organization’s carbon footprint (on the Earth) to a position of zero net carbon dioxide (or equivalent) emissions. The term has become so popular that the Oxford University Press recently declared carbon neutrality as 2006’s word of the year. 

Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS): The Federal Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme for Australia.

Carbon Sequestration: The long-term storage of CO2 in forests, soils, oceans or underground in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, coal seams and saline aquifers. For example- removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through land-use change, afforestation or reforestation.

Carbon Tax: A surcharge on the carbon content of products. At present, the Federal Government has not proposed to introduce a carbon tax.

CDP4: The Carbon Disclosure Project is a program where institutional investors collectively sign a single global request for disclosure of information on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change risk by the largest companies in the world. The first request was sent in 2002, resulting in the publication of the CDP1 report in 2003. The CDP4 report was released in 2006. The request for information to be compiled into CDP5 was sent to companies in February 2007.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): A mechanism established by Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol for project-bases emission reduction activities in developing countries (e.g. China). The CDM’s two main objectives are to address the sustainable development needs of the host country, and increase the opportunities for meeting emissions reduction commitments.

Climate Change Action Fund:  The $2.15b Climate Change Action Fund provides targeted assistance, over five years, to businesses, community sector organizations, workers, regions and communities to smooth the transition to a carbon constrained economy.

Closed Loop:  System in which all wastes are recycled or re-used so that no new materials are needed to provide a new generation of products. 

Certified Emission Reduction (CER): A Kyoto unit corresponding to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent missions, and issued for verified emission reductions or removals achieved by projects approved under the clean development mechanism.

CO2e: Carbon dioxide equivalent. There are a range of Greenhouse Gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect and climate change. However, each contributes to different degrees (i.e. they have a different Global Warming Potential). For example one molecule of methane has the same effect as 21 molecules of carbon dioxide. Fore ease of calculation emissions of GHGs other an CO2 are described in terms of the equivalent number of molecules of CO2 that hey represent.

Controlling Corporation: Defined in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) as a constitutional corporation that dos not have a holding company incorporated in Australia’ (i.e. a parent corporation).

CRI- Australian Corporate Responsibility Index. Reporting initiative overseen by the St James Ethics Centre which allows companies to voluntarily assess their CR performance. The CRI is based on a program developed by the UK organization “Business in the Community.”

CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility: the term corporate responsibility (CR) has been used to refer to issues traditionally understood to be covered by the term corporate social responsibility. Typically CSR covers a range of corporate activities which extend beyond traditional legal compliance requirement in the areas of social and labor policy and include environmental protection, corporate governance and the like.


DOW JONES Sustainability Index (DJSI): Index designed to measure the corporate sustainability of companies. The leading 10% of companies in terms of sustainability out of the biggest 2, 500 companies on the Dow Jones Global Index, and the top 20% of the Dow Jones STOXX 600 are rated. Investment managers in 14 countries hold licenses to use the DJSI to assess and manage financial products.  


Ecological Footprint: A measure of an individual or organization’s impact on the environment, an ecological footprint is a representation of the total quantity of resources that are used directly and indirectly as a result of the organizations activities. The original means of representing a ecological footprint was by quantifying the area of land required to support resource use.

Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme: A federal Government will provide assistance to help the coal-fired electricity generation sector transition to a low emissions economy through the Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme.

Emissions Trading: Emissions trading is a general term used for a market-based system that gives firms the flexibility to select cost-effective solutions to achieve established environmental goals. Emissions trading encourages compliance and financial manages to pursue cost-effective emission reduction strategies and provides incentives to emitters to develop the means by which emissions can inexpensively be reduced.

Emissions Intensive Trade Exposed Industries (EITE industries): Industries that are assessed to have an emissions intensity above a defined threshold and are trade exposed. These industries will be allocated a number of free AEUs under CPRS.

ESD: ecologically sustainable development

  1. The precautionary principle- if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full-scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation
  2. Inter-generational equity- the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations
  3. Conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity
  4. Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanism- environmental factors should be included in the valuation of assets and services

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS): The EU ETS commenced in 2005 and is currently in its second phase (2008-2012). It is a mandatory cap and trade emission trading scheme covering 27 European countries. European Union allowances (EUAs) are the main unit of trade.

Equator Principles: A framework for banks to manage the environmental and social issues of projects for which they are giving project financing. Signatories to the Principles agree not to loan money to a project with a total capital cost of US$10 million unless the sponsors of the project comply with requirement to undertake environmental and social assessments and, in some cases, to develop management plans for the environmental and social impacts of the project.


Facility: Under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth), a facility is defined as an activity, or a series of activities (including ancillary activities) that form a single undertaking or enterprise and meet the requirement of the regulations.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: US law that outlaws the bribery of foreign public officials by US citizens or corporations. They Foreign Practices Act was the first law of its kind, preceding the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention by 20 years. In 1998 the Act was amended to conform with the Anti-Bribery Convention.

FTSE4GOOD: Index developed by FTSE Group to measure the performance of companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards: used to guide Socially Responsible Investment.


Geosequestration: A form of carbon capture and storage involving technology that aims to store CO2 in deep underground geological structures.

Global Warming Potential: The index used to translate the level of emissions of various gases into a common measure in order to compare the relative radiative forcing of different gases without directly calculating the changes n atmospheric concentrations. GWPs are calculate das the ratio of the radiative forcing that would result from the emission of the kilogram of a greenhouse gas to that from the emissions of one kilogram of carbon dioxide over a period of time (usually 100 years).

Greenhouse Gases (GHG): There are six greenhouse gases recognized under the Kyoto Protocl, being carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and certain perfluorocarbons (PFCs).


Land Use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF): Land use and land-use changes can result in emissions or increase carbon sequestration. Emissions from land use are those that result from cropping and livestock production. Land-use change refers to the conversation of land to alternative uses, such as from forest to crop land or from grazing land to forest.

Liable entity: An entity that has an obligation under the Federal Government’s proposed Carbon A Pollution Reduction Scheme. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘covered entity’.

Low-emissions technology: Technology which produces a product with minimal greenhouse gas emission. The term is commonly used to refer to power generation technologies (such as renewable, nuclear and ‘clean coal’ generation), but applies equally to other sectors, including transport and agriculture.


Marginal Abatement Cost (MAC): The cost of reduction emissions by one ton of CO2e. An aggregation of these cost against total tons abated creates a firm’s marginal abatement cost curve. The lower the MAC curve, the more effective the firm’s emission reduction strategies. The aim of market-based incentives measures, such as emissions trading, is to encourage participants to reduce their emissions at the lowest cost.

Mitigation: Human intervention to reduce the sources of, or enhance the sinks for, greenhouse gases.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS): A federal scheme requiring certain entities to monitor and report their energy production, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. NGERS is governed by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) and subordinate instruments.

National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: An inventory of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, prepared as part of Australian’s National Greenhouse Accounts and used by the Australian Government to meet its international reporting obligations.

National Packaging Covenant (NPC): A voluntary agreement between all levels in Australia and organizations that sign it aimed at increasing the proportion of packaging by reducing the volume of packaging waste ending up in a landfill. Brand owners who sign the NPC may be subject to state legislation which implements that National Protection Measure on Used Packaging Materials (NEPM)>.


Offset Credits: These represent abatement and can be used to counterbalance emissions that are covered by the emissions trading scheme.

Operational Control: Under the NGER Act, only one corporation can have operational control of a facility at any one time. If more than one corporation is able to satisfy the operational control requirement, the corporation having the greatest authority to introduce and implement operating, health and safety, and environmental policies will be taken to have the requisite control.


Pass Through: Where the additional cost to liable entities under the scheme is passed through the production chain and reflected in the final price for a product.

Price cap: Where the additional cost to liable entities under the scheme is passed through the production chain and reflected in the final price for a product.


Removal unit (RMU): A Kyoto unit corresponding to on metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, and issued for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by eligible land sue, land-use change and forestry activities undertaken in a developed country.

Renewable Energy Target (RET): A national Renewable Energy Target scheme places a legal obligation on parties who buy wholesale electricity (retailers and large users) to source a certain percentage of there electricity purchases from renewable-based generation. Liable parties can demonstrate compliance with the scheme by acquiring and surrendering, to the scheme regulator, tradeable renewable energy certificates. Renewable energy certificates are created by accredited renewable energy generators.

Reporting Framework: The national Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (Cth) requires mandatory reporting of certain emissions of GHG and production and consumption of energy.  This reporting will be used to underpin emissions trading.


Transparency International: International NGO that works to eliminate corporate corruption


UNEP: United Nations Environment Programme. Arm of the United Nations responsible for the UN-administered environmental initiatives.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): An international treaty that entered into force in 1994. The convention established an objective of avoiding dangerous anthropogenic climate change, and set out provision outlining actions to avoid future increase in global warming (including non-binding emissions targets for developed countries) and provisions to cope with whatever temperature increase are inevitable. 

UN Global Compact: Initiative of the United Nations that facilitates a network of UN agencies, governments, business, labor, and non-government organizations to encourage companies to adopt a set of principles of corporate citizenship.

UN PRI: United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Voluntary, aspirational principles to guide large institutional investors(in particular pension and superannuation funds) and asset managers towards corporate social and environmental responsibility. It was established by UN Global Compact and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights: Statement of rights recognized by General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. Rights recognized in the Declaration include the right to equal treatment of human beings, the right to a fair trial, the right of freedom of expression and the rights to freedom from slavery and torture.


Voluntary Carbon Market: Voluntary purchase of abatements, normally in the form of carbon offset credits-in order to reduce or completely offset their carbon emissions. By contrast, participants in an emissions trading scheme will be legally obliged to acquire or offset credits to cover emissions.


World Bank Safeguards: Environmental and social safeguard policies designed to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and their environment during the development process. The policies are used as a guide by World Bank staff in the identification, preparation, and implementation of programs and projects.


AASB- Australian Accounting Standards Board

ABGR- Australian Building Greenhouse Rating

ACCC- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

ACT GGAS- Australian Capital Territory Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme

AEMC- Australian Energy Market Commission

AER- Australian Energy Regulator

AEU- Australian Energy Unit

AGEIS- Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System

AGO- Australian Greenhouse Office

AIP- Australian Institute of Petroleum

ANZSIC- Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification

AOFM- Australian Office of Financial Management

APPEA- Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

ASAE- Australian Standard on Assurance Engagements

CAP- Carbon Allocation Process

CCS- Carbon Capture and Storage

CDM- Clean Development Mechanism

CER- Certified Emission Reduction

CGE- Computable general equilibrium

CGT- Capital Gains Tax

CISA- Centre for Integrated Sustainability Analysis

CM2- Carbon Management Maturity Model

CNG- Compressed Natural Gas

CO2- Carbon Dioxide

CO2e- Carbon Dioxide Equivalent

COAG- Council of Australian Government

CPRS- Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

CSIRO- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

CSR- Corporate Social Responsibility

CR- Corporate Responsibility

CRI- Corporate Responsibility Index

DCC- Federal Department of Climate Change

DSA- Demand side abatement

DSCR-Debt service coverage ratio

EIA- Ethical Investment Association Australasia

EIO- Economic Input Output (method)

EITE-Emissions-intensive trade-exposed

ERU-Emission reduction unit

ESAA- Energy Supply Association of Australia

ESAS- Electricity Sector Adjustment Scheme

ESG- Environmental, Social and Governance Factors

ETS- Emissions trading scheme

EU- European Union

EU ETS- European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

FTA- Free Trade Agreement

GCCSI-Global Carbon Capture and Storage Initiative

GDP- Gross Domestic Product

GEDO- Greenhouse and Energy Data Officer

GGAS- New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme

GHG-Greenhouse Gas

GIAM- Global Integrated Assessment Model

GNP- Gross National Product

GRI- Global Reporting Initiative

GST- Goods and Services Tax

GTEM- Global Trade and Environmental Model

GW- Gigawatt

GWh- Gigawatt Hour

GWP- Global Warming Potential

HFCs- Hydrofluorocarbons

IASB- International Accounting Standards Board

ICAP- International Carbon Action Partnership

IFC- International Finance Corporation

IFRIC- International Financial reporting Standards

IFRS- International Financial Reporting Standards

IGO- Inter-Governmental Organization

ILO- International Labor Organization

IMOWA- Independent Market Operator of Western Australia

IPART- Independent Pricing and Review Tribunal

IPCC- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

ISEA- Institute for Social and ethical Accountability

JI- Joint Implementation


kW- kilowatt

LCA- Life Cycle Assessment

LCER- Long-term certified emission reduction

LCI- Life Cycle Inventory

LNG- Liquefied Natural Gas

LPG- Liquefied Petroleum Gas

LUAC- Large User Abatement Certificate

MAC- Marginal Abatement Cost

MCE-Ministerial council on Energy

MMA- McLennan Magasanik Associates

MMRF-Monash Multi Regional forecasting model

MNE-Multinational Enterprise

MRET- Mandatory Renewable Energy Target Scheme

MW- megawatt

MWh-Megawatt Hour

NAP- National Allocation Plan

NEM- National Electricity Hour

NEMMCO- National Electricity market Management Company

NETT- National Emissions Trading Taskforce

NGAC- NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Certificate

NGERS- National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System

NGGI- National Greenhouse Gas Inventory

NLECI- National Low Emissions Coal Initiative

NREC-NSW Renewable Energy Certificate

NRET- New South Wales Renewable Energy Target Scheme

NSW GGAS- New South Wales Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme

NWI- National Water Initiative

OPEC- Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

ORER- Office of Renewable Energy regulator

OSCAR- Online System for Comprehensive Activity Reporting

OTN- Obligation Transfer Number


Ppm- Parts per million

REC- Renewable Energy Certificate

RECLAIM- Regional Clean Air Incentives Market

REDD- Reducing emissions form deforestation and forest degradation

RPP- Renewable Power Percentage

RGGI- Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

RMU- Removal Unit

SGU- Small Generation Unit

t- ton

tCER- temporary certified emission reduction

TGET- Task Group on Emissions Trading

TJ- terajoules

UN- United Nations

UNEP- United Nations Environment Program

UNFCCC- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

VREC- Victorian Renewable Energy Certificate

VRET- Victorian Renewable Energy Target Scheme

WEM- Wholesale Electricity Market (Western Australia)

Wh- Watt hour

WMO- World Meteorological Organization

WTO- World Trade Organization