Climate Change Authority

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Glossary

Term Definition
2 degree goal A global goal to limit global average warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
accounting The rules that specify how to estimate greenhouse gas emissions and what emissions count towards an emissions reduction target.
Annex I countries/Parties Industrialised countries and economies in transition listed in Annex I to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
business-as-usual (emissions trend) Emissions that would occur without any policy intervention (or additional policy intervention).
climate finance Public and private funding from developed countries to enable and support low-carbon development, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building.
commitment period The timeframe of binding national goals under the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period was five years from 2008–2012. The second commitment period is eight years from 2013–2020.
emissions budget A cumulative emissions allowance over a period of time.
emissions intensity A measure of the amount of emissions associated with a unit of output; for example, emissions per unit of gross domestic product.
emissions reduction The act or process of limiting or restricting greenhouse gas emissions.
emissions reduction target Any form of quantified emissions limitation or reduction effort, including but not limited to Kyoto-style targets.
emissions trading scheme A market-based approach to reducing emissions that places a limit on emissions allowed from all sources covered by the scheme. Emissions trading allows entities to trade emissions units with other entities.
global emissions budget The total amount of emissions projected to result in a given rise in global temperature. Budgets are expressed in terms of probabilities to reflect uncertainties about the exact temperature effect of a given amount of emissions.
global warming Used interchangeably with climate change.
greenhouse gas Any gas (natural or produced by human activities) that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere. Key greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapour, nitrous oxide, methane and ozone.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change An international scientific body operating under the auspices of the United Nations. Its role is to review, assess and synthesise the latest information on climate change.
Kyoto Protocol An international agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997. It includes binding national targets for some developed countries and flexible mechanisms including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Major emitting countries Countries individually emitting more than 1 per cent of the world’s emissions The 15 countries are China, the United States, the EU bloc of 28 countries, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, Canada, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Australia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Non-Annex I countries/Parties Developing countries not listed in Annex I to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Paris outcome The result of the Conference of the Parties in Paris in 2015: likely to be a package of agreements including a short overall instrument with legal force that is supported by non-binding implementing decisions and nationally-determined targets.
pre-industrial The period before 1750.
Trajectory/ trajectory range An indicative year-by-year emissions pathway to an emissions goal/ A range within which future targets and trajectories may be set.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change An international treaty that commits signatory countries (Parties) to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system.