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Carbon sinksNatural features that absorb greenhouse gases, such as peat bogs, seagrass meadows or forests.
CO2Carbon dioxide
Climate Change CommitteeA body established by the Climate Change Act 2008 to advise the Government on measures needed to meet the UK's targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.
DecarbonisationThe process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with a system, operation, product or service to net-zero.
Energy Performance CertificatesInformation providing an assessment of the energy efficiency of a building, using a rating scale from A (highly efficient) to G (very inefficient).
Greenhouse gasesGases which are transparent to incoming solar radiation but absorb infra-red radiation emitted by the Earth, leading to a net increase in the amount of energy in the Earth system. The most significant greenhouse gases relevant to human-driven climate change are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
Gross greenhouse gas emissionsThe total emissions due to the activities of an organisation or within a geographical area.
Lifecycle emissionsThe total emissions generated by a product, including its manufacture, transport and disposal as well as emissions from its use.
Net greenhouse gas emissionsThe gross emissions of an organisation or geographical area, minus any emissions that it offsets.
Net-zeroThis is shorthand for net greenhouse gas emissions being zero.
OffsettingActivities that do not directly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but either prevent emissions or degradation of carbon sinks elsewhere, or increase absorption of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.  Absorption of greenhouse gases can be achieved directly, for example by planting trees, or indirectly by purchasing offset credits from a certified scheme that guarantees to implement measures that will absorb greenhouse gases.  Prevention of emissions or degradation of carbon sinks can only be achieved by purchasing offset credits, and the availability of these will decrease to zero as net-zero emissions are achieved globally.
Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions

Emissions scopes categorise emissions for which an organisation or geographical area is responsible, based on where and how those emissions are generated.

  • Scope 1 emissions are those released directly by an organisation, or from within a geographical area.
  • Scope 2 emissions are those released when generating electricity or other energy services (such as district heat, steam or cooling networks), that is used by an organisation, or within a geographical area.
  • Scope 3 emissions are all other emissions generated outside an organisation or geographical area, to provide services or materials used within the organisation or area.


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