Greenhouse gas glossary

Carbon footprint: "the total set of GHG emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organisation, event or product" (UK Carbon Trust 2008).

Climate change mitigation: is any action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce the long-term risks and hazards of climate change (http://www.global-greenhouse-warming.com/).

Climate change adaptation: refers to the ability of a system (including managed systems such as farms) to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes), to moderate potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences (www.global-greenhouse-warming.com).

Abatement: actions that are specifically designed to reduce GHG emissions, the impact of which can be measured e.g. installing an anaerobic digester, covering a slurry store and such actions are often associated with an abatement potential, i.e. the percentage reduction in GHG emissions which they give over conventional practice.

Carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e): describes for a particular greenhouse gas the quantity of carbon dioxide that would have the same global warming potential, calculations are based on the global warming potential of each greenhouse gas (see below).

Global warming potential (GWP): is a measure of how much a given mass of GHG is estimated to contribute to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the gas in question to that of the same mass of CO2 (whose GWP is by convention equal to 1). Methane (CH4) has a GWP of 21 CO2e and nitrous oxide (N2O) has a GWP of 310 CO2e when considered over a 100 year period (IPCC, 2001).

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