Glossary and Acronyms

Glossary

Fair share allocation

Canada's fair share of the global climate effort is calculated as a percentage of the global effort -- whether mitigation or adaptation related -- and is based on Canada's share of the global responsibility for causing climate change and our capacity for addressing it. These are expressed in a Responsibility and Capacity Index, which is calculated based on user's own preferred interpretation of national responsibility and capacity.

Population-based share

The share of the global carbon budget calculated from the local population as a fraction of the global population.

Emission-based share

The share of the global carbon budget calculated from the local emissions as a fraction of the global emissions

GDP-based share

The share of the global carbon budget calculated from the local GDP as a fraction of the global GDP.

Pledged emissions

On 15 May 2015, Canada submitted its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), proposing an economy-wide target to reduce GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada has indicated that it may also use international credits to meet its target. Considering the upward trajectory of the current policy projection against the pledge trajectory, Canada would need to use a large quantity of international credits to meet its target.

Mitigation funded by Canada and carried out within its own borders

Canada will decide, on the basis of our own specific considerations (e.g. costs, co-benefits and political-economic tradeoffs) what fraction of our fair share of the global mitigation effort we will attempt and fund within Canada.

Mitigation funded by Canada and carried out within other countries

Canada will decide, on the basis of our own specific considerations (e.g. costs, co-benefits and political-economic tradeoffs) what fraction of our fair share of the global mitigation effort we will fund within other developing countries.

Baseline emissions

The Climate Equity Reference Project calculated baseline CO2 emissions based on combining estimates of emissions intensity reduction with estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, with the values for both derived from a convergence from historical rates of change to projected long-term (through 2030) rates of change.

Pathways

The following definitions were published by Climate Action Tracker (CAT)

The 1.5ºC standard pathway is based on the 1.5ºC pathway published by Climate Action Tracker, and is estimated to have a greater than or equal to 50% probability of staying below 1.5ºC in 2100. The pathway is based on the median of the scenarios reported in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGIII) that have at least a 50% probability of staying below 1.5ºC. CAT reports a single all-gas median pathway; it has been disaggregated into Fossil CO2, LULUCF and non-CO2 pathways using the non-CO2 pathway from RCP 2.6.

The 2°C standard pathway is based on the 2ºC pathway published by Climate Action Tracker, and is estimated to have a greater than 66% probability of staying below 2ºC in 2100. The pathway is based on the median of the scenarios reported in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGIII) that have at least a 66% probability of staying below 2ºC. CAT reports a single all-gas median pathway; it has been disaggregated into Fossil CO2, LULUCF and non-CO2 pathways using the non-CO2 pathway from RCP 2.6.

UNEP Glossary

This glossary has been adapted from the UNEP Emissions Gap report.

Carbon dioxide budget (or carbon budget)

For a given temperature rise limit, for example a 1.5°C or 2°C long-term limit, the corresponding carbon budget reflects the total amount of carbon emissions that can be emitted for temperatures to stay below that limit. Stated differently, a carbon budget is the area under a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trajectory that satisfies assumptions about limits on cumulative emissions estimated to avoid a certain level of global mean surface temperature rise.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)

CO2e is a way to place emissions of various radiative forcing agents on a common footing by accounting for their effect on climate. It describes, for a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gases, the amount of CO that would have the same global warming ability, when measured over a specified time period. For the purpose of this report, greenhouse gas emissions (unless otherwise specified) are the sum of the basket of greenhouse gases listed in Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol, expressed as CO2e assuming a 100-year global warming potential. (The ratio of CO2e to CO2 will vary for countries as they change the mixture of gases).

Carbon offset: See Offset.

Carbon price

The price for avoided or released CO2 or CO2e emissions. This may refer to the rate of a carbon tax or the price of emission permits. In many models that are used to assess the economic costs of mitigation, carbon prices are used as a proxy to represent the level of effort in mitigation policies.

Carbon sequestration

The process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir.

Emissions gap

The difference between the greenhouse gas emission levels consistent with having a likely chance (>66 per cent) of limiting the mean global temperature rise to below 2°C/1.5°C in 2100 above pre-industrial levels and the GHG emission levels consistent with the global effect of the INDCs, assuming full implementation from 2020.

Greenhouse gases

The atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climatic change. The major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Less prevalent, but very powerful, GHGs are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Gross domestic product

The sum of gross value added, at purchasers’ prices, by all resident and non-resident producers in the economy, plus any taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of products in a country or geographic region for a given period, normally one year. Gross domestic product is calculated without deducting for depreciation of fabricated assets or depletion and degradation of natural resources.

Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)

A greenhouse gas inventory sector that covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from direct human-induced land use, land use change and forestry activities.

Likely chance

A likelihood greater than 66 per cent chance.

Medium chance

A likelihood of 50–66 per cent chance.

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)

By its decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 22, the Conference of the Parties (COP) invited Parties to communicate their first NDC no later than when the Party submits its respective instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of the Paris Agreement. In the same paragraph, the COP further stated that if a Party has communicated an INDC prior to joining the Agreement, that Party shall be considered to have satisfied the provision of decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 22, unless that Party decides otherwise.

Offset (in climate policy)

A unit of CO2e emissions that is reduced, avoided, or sequestered to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.

Party

A state (or regional economic integration organization such as the EU) that agrees to be bound by a treaty and for which the treaty has entered into force.

Tipping point

A level of change in system properties beyond which a system reorganizes, often abruptly, and does not return to the initial state even if the drivers of the change are abated. For the climate system, it refers to a critical threshold when global or regional climate changes from one stable state to another stable state. The tipping point event may be irreversible.

Unconditional INDCs

INDCs proposed by countries without conditions attached.

Acronyms

°C degrees Celsius
BAU business as usual
CO2 carbon dioxide
CO2e carbon dioxide equivalent
COP Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC
EJ exajoules
EU European Union
GHG greenhouse gas
Gt gigatonne
ICI international cooperative initiative
INDC Intended Nationally Determined Contribution
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
km kilometre
kt kilotonne
kWh kilowatt hour
LULUCF Land use, land-use change and forestry
m2 square metres
Mt million tonne
NDC Nationally Determined Contribution
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperaiton and Development
SDG Sustainable Development Goal
UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
USA/US United States of America