Adaptability refers to the degree to which adjustments are possible in practices, processes or structural systems to projected or actual changes of climate. Adaption can be spontaneous or planned, and can be carried out in response to or in anticipation of changes in conditions. IPCC (1996)

Definitions of adaption:

UNFCC Cancun Adaption Framework


Anaerobic Digestion

“Anaerobic Digestion is the process where plant and animal material is converted into useful products by micro-organisms in the absence of air. Biomass is put inside sealed tanks and naturally occurring micro-organisms digest it, releasing methane that can be used to provide clean renewable energy. This means AD can help reduce fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The material left over at the end of the process is rich in nutrients so it can be used as fertiliser.”

See website

UK Government Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan

See website Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA)

See website Biomass Energy Centre,17509&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL


Air Quality

“A clean air supply is essential to our own health and that of the environment. But since the industrial revolution, the quality of the air we breathe has deteriorated considerably – mainly as a result of human activities. Rising industrial and energy production, the burning of fossil fuels and the dramatic rise in traffic on our roads all contribute to air pollution in our towns and cities which, in turn, can lead to serious health problems. For example, air pollution is increasingly being cited as the main cause of lung conditions such as asthma – twice as many people suffer from asthma today compared to 30 years ago.” See EU Environment – Air Quality

See UK-AIR: Air Information Resource

See  US EPA Air Quality

See China – Beijing Real-time Air Quality Index

See Brasil – Climate Pollution

See India – National Air Quality Monitoring Programme


Ash Dieback

“Ash dieback is a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and it may lead to tree death. Ash trees suffering from symptoms likely to be caused by Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea) are increasingly being found across Europe. These have included forest trees, trees in urban areas and also young trees in nurseries. C. fraxinea is a quarantine pest under national emergency measures.” Defra Scientific Briefing




Behaviour Change

See DECC website and report on Behaviour Change and Energy Use



Biochar is sustainable charcoal

See Biochar International Website

See UK Biochare Resarch Centre

See Article by George Monbiot on pros and cons of Biochar



“Biofuels are any kind of fuel made from living things, or from the waste they produce.”





“Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material.” See,15049&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL




BREEAM is one of the world’s leading assessment methods for sustainable buildings. It enables designers, developers and building managers to demonstrate the environmental credentials of their buildings, against a universally-recognised, benchmarked set of standards. See BREEAM Website

See LEED for US equivalent of BREEAM




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COP18 (Doha)

“Since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC has been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The COP is the ‘supreme body’ of the Convention, its highest decision-making authority. The COP is an association of all the countries that are Parties to the Convention.”  Doha 2012

Doha 2012: Guide to Climate Change

Cape Town Declaration (2002)

A declaration of key principles required for Sustain/Responsible Tourism. The Cape Town Conference was organised by the Responsible Tourism Partnership and Western Cape Tourism as a side event preceding the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. International Institute for Sustainable Tourism




‘Carbon’ sometimes used to mean ‘Carbon Dioxide’ See


Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Carbon Capture and Storage is a mitigation technology essential in tackling global climate change, and ensuring a secure energy supply. CCS technology captures carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power stations. The CO₂ is then transported via pipelines and stored safely offshore in deep underground structures such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and deep saline aquifers.

See DECC website


Carbon Compliance

The UK Government’s ‘Carbon Compliance’ standard will reduce the emissions from a new home by an amount compared to current regulations. However this will still leave a significant proportion of carbon emissions to be addressed by ‘Allowable Solutions’ in order to meet the zero carbon home Standard.

Government is proposing to allow developers to ‘offset’ the remainder a building’s total emissions in this way. Exactly what might come under this umbrella is still to be decided and work to firm up the allowable solutions concept and exactly what this might look like in practice is still to be done.

Proposed Allowable solutions include:

  • Carbon compliance – beyond the minimum level
  • Credits for energy efficient appliances or building controls to reduce energy demand
  • Exporting low carbon or renewable heat from a development
  • Credit for contribution by the developer towards low or zero carbon infrastructure such as a local heat network
  • Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings in the vicinity
  • Credit for investment by the developer in low or zero carbon energy infrastructure where the benefit is passed on to the home purchaser
  • Credit for emissions savings relative to grid electricity where offsite renewable energy is connected directly to the development



 Carbon Credits

“A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the mass of another greenhouse gas with a carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.”


Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

“A naturally occurring gas, and also a by-product of burning fossil fuels and biomass, as well as land-use changes and other industrial processes. It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas that affects the Earth’s radiative balance. It is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential of 1.” US EPA

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to double by the year 2050, inducing a possible earth surface temperate increase in the order of 2-5oC.


 Carbon Dioxide Equivalent

“Carbon dioxide equivalent is a measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential. For example, the global warming potential for methane over 100 years is 21. This means that emissions of one million metric tons of methane is equivalent to emissions of 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.” See


Carbon Floor Price

The Carbon Floor Price (minimial price) is a way of supporting the price for carbon in the UK electricity generation sector with the aim of reducing revenue uncertainty and improving the economics for investment in low-carbon generation. “The Chancellor announced in the Budget 2011 the introduction of a carbon price floor from 1 April 2013. This is the first step to wider reform of the electricity market.”  HM Treasury Carbon Floor Price Webpage

Carbon Leakage

“Carbon leakage is the term often used to describe the situation that may occur if, for reasons of costs related to climate policies, businesses were to transfer production to other countries which have laxer constraints on greenhouse gas emissions. This could lead to an increase in their total emissions. The risk of carbon leakage may be higher in certain energy-intensive industries. ”  EU Cimate Action – Carbon Leakage Website


Carbon Neutrality or Carbon Neutral

“ECC published a definition of carbon neutrality in October 2009: ‘Carbon neutral means that – through a transparent process of calculating emissions, reducing those emissions and offsetting residual emissions – net carbon emissions equal zero’.” See DECC website


Carbon Offsetting

“Some emissions are unavoidable, however – and carbon offsetting compensates for your unavoidable emissions by paying someone to make an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere in the world. More and more individuals and businesses are volunteering to offset their emissions. Offsetting is not a “cure” for climate change; the most effective way to combat climate change is to reduce emissions. However, if done in the right way, offsetting can reduce the impact of our actions and help raise awareness of the issue. The cost of offsetting can also incentivise reductions.” See

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)

The CRC is a mandatory scheme aimed at improving energy efficiency and cutting emissions in large public and private sector organisations. These organisations are responsible for around 10% of the UK’s emissions. The scheme features a range of reputational, behavioural and financial drivers, which aim to encourage organisations to develop energy management strategies that promote a better understanding of energy usage.” See DECC Website

See Environment Agency Website


 Carbon Trading

Trading of carbon credits See Carbon Trading Simplified


Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust was set up by the UK Government in 2001 as “…a not-for-profit company providing specialist support to help business and the public sector boost business returns by cutting carbon emissions, saving energy and commercialising low carbon technologies.”


 Carbon Valuation

See DECC website and report on ‘Carbon Valuation in UK Policy Approach’


Carrying Capacity

Carrying capacity assessment estimates the maximum number of people that an area of land can support. See Carrying Capacity Dashboard for some interesting articles and tools:



“…climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area….When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place. See


Climate Change

“Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F (0.8oC) over the past century (since 1880)… Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.”

See ‘US Environmental Protection Agency – Climate Change’ for excellent explanation and further information.

See ‘US NASA Global Climate Change’

See ‘US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NNOA) State of Climate Reports’

 The United Nations Climate Change Conference Bonn May 2012

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban Nov/Dec 2011

 Predicted Impacts for Your Region (UNFCCC Website)

Predicted Impacts for UK

Draft Climate Change Adaption Strategy for London (Feb 2010)


Climate Change Mitigation

See Geoengineering


Climate Economics

The study of the economic effects of greenhouse gas emission reductions and strategies.

See ‘US Environmental Protection Agency – Climate Economics’

See ‘IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’

See European Commission – Climate Action



“Composting, often described as nature’s way of recycling, is the biological process of breaking up of organic waste such as food waste, manure, leaves, grass trimmings, paper …(and some industrial waste streams)…etc., into an extremely useful humus-like substance by various micro-organisms including bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes in the presence of oxygen.” See

On-farm composting and composting of green waste See



UK Government  key Consultation Principles are:

  • departments will follow a range of timescales rather than defaulting to a 12-week period, particularly where extensive engagement has occurred before;
  • departments will need to give more thought to how they engage with and consult with those who are affected;
  • consultation should be ‘digital by default’, but other forms should be used where these are needed to reach the groups affected by a policy; and
  • the principles of the Compact between government and the voluntary and community sector will continue to be respected.



Cost Benefit

A way of appraising the ‘costs’ verses ‘benefits’ and making a case for a project or change.

See EA Cost benefit research



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Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forest land use such as arable land, urban use, logged area or wasteland. According to FAO, deforestation is the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of tree canopy cover below the 10% threshold. Deforestation can result from deliberate removal of forest cover for agriculture or urban development, or it can be an unintentional consequence of uncontrolled grazing (which can prevent the natural regeneration of young trees). The combined effect of grazing and fires can be a major cause of deforestation in dry areas. Deforestation implies the long-term (>10 years) or permanent loss of forest cover.

Deforestation defined broadly can include not only conversion to non-forest, but also degradation that reduces forest quality – the density and structure of the trees, the ecological services supplied, the biomass of plants and animals, the species diversity and the genetic diversity. Narrow definition of deforestation is: the removal of forest cover to an extent that allows for alternative land use. The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) uses a broad definition of deforestation, while the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) uses a much narrower definition.

Definitions can also be grouped into those which refer to changes in land cover and those which refer to changes in land use. Land cover measurements often use a percent of cover to determine deforestation. Land use definitions measure deforestation by a change in land use. This definition may consider areas to be forest that are not commonly considered as such. An area can be lacking trees but still considered a forest. It may be a land designated for afforestation or an area designated administratively as forest. Land cover based definitions can be measured using remotely sensed data. Detailed ground survey is needed to monitor land use type deforestation processes.





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Ecological Footprint

“An ecological footprint is the land (and water) area of the planet or particular area required for the support either of humankind’s current lifestyle or the consumption pattern of a particular population. It is the inverse of the carrying capacity of a territory.”


See Global Footprint Network


EMAS – The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme

EMAS is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. See

IEMA EMAS website See


Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)

“Launched in 2005, the EU ETS works on the “cap and trade” principle. This means there is a “cap”, or limit, on the total amount of certain greenhouse gases that can be emitted by the factories, power plants and other installations in the system. Within this cap, companies receive emission allowances which they can sell to or buy from one another as needed. At present, the vast majority of allowances are given out for free. The limit on the total number of allowances available ensures that they have a value.” See

Emission Trading Scheme

“Emissions trading is a market-based scheme for environmental improvement that allows parties to buy and sell permits for emissions or credits for reductions in emissions of certain pollutants.

Emissions trading allows established emission goals to be met in the most cost-effective way by letting the market determine the lowest-cost pollution abatement opportunities.

Under such a scheme, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) first determines total acceptable emissions and then divides this total into tradeable units (often called credits or permits). These units are then allocated to scheme participants.

Participants that emit pollutants must obtain sufficient tradeable units to compensate for their emissions. Those that reduce emissions may have surplus units that they can sell to others that find emission reduction more expensive or difficult.

In suitable cases, trading schemes offer significant advantages over other regulatory approaches, both in certainty of environmental outcome and the potential to minimise overall compliance cost.”

How does the emission trading scheme work?

See UK Emissions Trading Scheme on DECC website




No activity is possible without energy and its total amount in the universe is fixed. In other words, it cannot be created or destroyed but can only be changed from one type to another.
See UK Department of Energy and Climate Change

See US Government – Energy Information Administration 


 Energy – Wind

“Energy received from the movement of the wind across the earth. This energy is a result of the heating of our oceans, earth, and atmosphere by the sun.” See

Energy – Water

“Hydro energy is simply energy that is taken from water and converted to electricity. Hydro energy can be obtained by using many methods of capture. The most common method of using energy from water is a hydroelectric dam, where water coming down through an area causes turbines to rotate and the energy is captured to run a generator. Power can also be generated from the energy of tidal forces or wave power, which uses the energy created by waves.” See

Energy – Fossil Fuel

Fossil fuels are derived from the remains of dead organisms. Examples include coal, oil, oil shales, tar sands, natural gas, and peat.



Energy – Geothermal

“The earth beneath our feet contains a significant amount of energy in the form of heat. This is referred to as geothermal energy and has the potential to generate geothermal power to provide large communities with a renewable electricity supply.” See


Energy Management

See Carbon Trust website for excellent range of publications on this subject


 Energy – Nuclear

“The energy released in a chain reaction of splitting atoms is used to boil water to steam…The way a nuclear power plant generates electricity from the heat energy is very similar to the way fossil fuelled power plants to generate electricity. The steam turns a turbine and a generator that sits on the turbine produces electricity with the principles of induction, transforming mechanical to electrical energy.” Nuclear energy and how does it work – see

DECC Nuclear webpage



 Energy 2011 Action Plan

Energy 2011 is the European Union’s strategy for energy efficiency as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”…and as part of a “transition to a resource efficient economy.”



Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO)

“The Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) has been set up to drive a step change in energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is at the heart of the government’s approach to tackling dangerous climate change and ensuring safe, secure and affordable energy supplies. Energy efficiency is often the quickest and most cost effective solution when compared with the alternatives, saving on energy bills and displacing more costly renewables deployment.” See DECC website


Energy Intensive Industries (EII)

“Policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions are going to impact upon the bills faced by industrial consumers. This will have the greatest effect on those industries that use the most electricity, leading to a risk that investment in the UK is lost – carbon leakage. The government intends to compensate those businesses most at risk of carbon leakage, to help offset these increased costs.” BIS Energy Intensive Industries Webpage


Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

An Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) is needed whenever a property is bought, sold or rented.



“Surroundings in which an organization operates, including air, water, land, natural resources, flora, fauna, humans, and their interrelation.” US EPA.

Environment Strategies

London’s Environment Strategies


Environmental Accounting

“Refers to:
– national accounting: physical and monetary accounts of environmental assets and the costs of their depletion and degradation;
– corporate accounting: the term usually refers to environmental auditing, but may also include the costing of environmental impacts caused by the corporation.”




Environmental Impact Assessment

“EIA is the systematic process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action” (IAIA) See


UK Planning and EIAs – See

US EPA Technical Review Guidelines for EIA See

UNEP EIA Training Resource Manual


 Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

“Refers to the management of an organization’s environmental programs in a comprehensive, systematic, planned and documented manner. It includes the organizational structure, planning and resources for developing, implementing and maintaining policy for environmental protection.” See

ISO 14001 is an internationally accepted standard that outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place. See

EMASThe EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. See

IEMA EMAS website See


Environmental Statement

An Environmental Statement aims to provide information to the public and other interested parties regarding the environmental and social impacts and potential consequences of a project or programme to enable an open and accountable decision to be made.

UK Planning legislation and ES See

Environmental Impact Statement (US NEPA) See

In EMAS context an Environmental Statement aims to provide environmental information to the public and other interested parties regarding the environmental impact and performance of the organisation. See




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Feed in Tariffs

The UKFeed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme was introduced on 1 April 2010, under powers in the Energy Act 2008. Through the use of FITs, DECC hopes to encourage deployment of additional small-scale (less than 5MW) low-carbon electricity generation, particularly by organisations, businesses, communities and individuals that have not traditionally engaged in the electricity market. See


 Food Poverty

FareShare is a national UK charity supporting communities to relieve food poverty. The most urgent issues are: food poverty and food waste. See

See Food Poverty and Health Briefing

And The Poverty Site


Food Miles

Food miles are a way of attempting to measure how far food has travelled before it reaches the consumer – but can be seen as an oversimplification of this sustainability issue which includes the global consequences of the economic and social issues for the producer as well as the transportation environmental costs.

For Weighted Average Score Distances (WASD) food miles calculator See

See Guardian article: “How the myth of food miles hurts the planet”

DEFRA Food Transport Indicators See



‘Fracking’ or ‘hydraulic fracturing’ refers to the use of a fluid injected via a wellhead drilled to the appropriate depth to force cracks into rock formations to open up wider cracks. These new cracks will allow more oil or gas to be extracted. Petroleum engineers has used this technique since the late 1940s. Recent fracking in northwest UK have been linked to minor earth tremors. There are a range of views on the safety of these techniques.


Fuel Poverty

UK government “…considers a household to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10 percent of its income on fuel for adequate heating (usually 21 degrees for the main living area, and 18 degrees for other occupied rooms).”

DECC Fuel Poverty See

UK Fuel Poverty Strategy See




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Gaia Hypothesis:James Lovelock proposed this hypothesis – that the living and nonliving components of earth function as a single system in such a way that the living component regulates and maintains conditions (as the temperature of the ocean or composition of the atmosphere) so as to be suitable for life . See



Geoengineering is the study of engineering and scientific mitigation solutions for climate change

See Royal Society Research Paper on ‘Geoengineering the Climate’ (2009)

See Oxford Geoengineering Programme and ‘Oxford Principles’

See Scientific American Article on Banning Solar Geoengineering patents


Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a non-profit organization that promotes economic, environmental and social sustainability. GRI is a network-based organization that provides all companies and organizations with a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world. A global network of some 30,000 people, many of them sustainability experts, contributes to its work. GRI’s governance bodies and Secretariat act as a hub, coordinating the activity of its network partners. See

Global Warming

“Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.74°C (plus or minus 0.18°C) since the late–19th century, and the linear trend for the past 50 years of 0.13°C (plus or minus 0.03°C) per decade is nearly twice that for the past 100 years. The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S. and parts of the North Atlantic) have, in fact, cooled slightly over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70°N. Lastly, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1995.”

US National Climatic Data Center FAQ See

 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) See



Having positive environmental attributes or objectives in relation to sustainability.


Green Accounting

“Refers to:
– national accounting: physical and monetary accounts of environmental assets and the costs of their depletion and degradation;
– corporate accounting: the term usually refers to environmental auditing, but may also include the costing of environmental impacts caused by the corporation.”



 Green Book

UK Treasury’s guidebook on assessing cost benefit of sustainable issues. It sets out “…a framework for the appraisal and evaluation of all policies, programmes and projects. It sets out the key stages in the development of a proposal from the articulation of the rationale for intervention and the setting of objectives, through to options appraisal and, eventually, implementation and evaluation. It describes how the economic, financial, social and environmental assessments of a proposal should be combined and aims to ensure consistency and transparency in the appraisal process throughout government.” See Website

Green Deal

“The new innovative Green Deal financial mechanism eliminates the need to pay upfront for energy efficiency measures and instead provides reassurances that the cost of the measures should be covered by savings on the electricity bill.” See UK Government Website

See DECC Green Deal Summary Proposals


 Green Energy

The generation of electricity or heat from renewable or low-carbon sources that do not harm the environment.

UK: Green Energy (Definition and Promotion) Act 2009 See

Green Investment Bank

The UK has set up the world’s first investment bank solely dedicated to greening the economy. See

Green Waste

“Green waste is biodegradable waste that can be composed of garden or park waste, such as grass or flower cuttings and hedge trimmings, as well as domestic and commercial food waste. The differentiation green identifies it as high in nitrogen, as opposed to brown waste, which is primarily carbonaceous.” See


Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

Gases that trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases.

 “Some greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities. The principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities are:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of other chemical reactions (e.g., manufacture of cement). Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere (or “sequestered”) when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.
  • Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.
  • Fluorinated Gases: Hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are synthetic, powerful greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes. Fluorinated gases are sometimes used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (i.e., CFCs, HCFCs, and halons). These gases are typically emitted in smaller quantities, but because they are potent greenhouse gases, they are sometimes referred to as High Global Warming Potential gases (“High GWP gases”).” US EPA Greenhouse Gas Overview

“The three most powerful long lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. … it is germane to note that water vapor is the single most powerful greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Water vapor has approximately twice the effect of the second most powerful greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide. Human activities do not have any significant direct impact on the level of water vapor in the atmosphere. However, as a result of global warming it is likely that human activities will have a significant indirect impact on the level of water vapor in the atmosphere.” ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY – Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming – Timothy J. Wallington, Jayaraman Srinivasan, Ole John Nielsen, Ellie J. Highwood

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to double by the year 2050, inducing a possible earth surface temperate increase in the order of 2-5oC.  See Website Greenhouse Gas Data from UNFCC




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“The area or natural environment in which an organism or population normally lives. A habitat is made up of physical factors such as soil, moisture, range of temperature, and availability of light as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence of predators.” See

JNCC Habitats in the UK See



World Health Organisation definition: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” See

What is Public Health See


Hockey Stick Graph – Climate Change

“The ‘hockey stick’ graph was the result of the first comprehensive attempt to reconstruct the average northern hemisphere temperature over the past 1000 years, based on numerous indicators of past temperatures, such as tree rings. It shows temperatures holding fairly steady until the last part of the 20th century and then suddenly shooting up”.

See New Scientist Article – “Climate myths: The ‘hockey stick’ graph has been proven wrong”



Hydrogen is a ‘clean energy carrier’ that can be produced from any primary energy source and associated fuel cells are very efficient energy conversion devices.

EU Research Report ‘Hydrogen Energy and Fuel Cells: A Vision for the Future’

US DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Research Program See

UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Industry website See

UK sustainable hydrogen energy consortium See




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Impact Assessment

See Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA)



See US Dept of Energy Innovation website page

Centre for Sustainable Design has an excellent website with a range of resources on sustainable innovation and product sustainability.



Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)



International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE)

INECE is a partnership of government and non-government enforcement and compliance practitioners from more than 150 countries.





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Kyoto Protocol

“The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.”  Website

Kyoto Protocol Document

‘Why the Kyoto Protocol Failed and a New Way Forward’: Steve Rayner, Professor of Science and Civilization at Oxford University explains why the Kyoto Protocol was destined to fail from the outset


Bali Roadmap

Cancun Agreements

Durban Outcomes




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Local Sustainable Transport Fund

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was launched in September 2010 and provides an opportunity for local transport authorities outside London to “build on their plans for taking forward sustainable travel measures…and to develop enhanced packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon” and “could also help to tackle problems of air quality and deliver improvements in public health and transport safety”.




LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. See US Green Building Council Website

LEED is used in a range of countries worldwide. See LEED International Program

See BREEAM for UK equivalent of LEED




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Magenta Book

“The Magenta Book is HM Treasury guidance on evaluation for Central Government, but will also be useful for all policy makers, including in local government, charities and the voluntary sectors. It sets out the key issues to consider when designing and managing evaluations, and the presentation and interpretation of evaluation results. It describes why thinking about evaluation before and during the policy design phase can help to improve the quality of evaluation results without needing to hinder the policy process.” HM Treasury Economic Data Webpage


Marrakech Process

The Marrakech Process is a global process to support the elaboration of a 10-Year Framework of Programs (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production, as called for by the WSSD Johannesburg Plan of Action. Goals:

  • to assist countries in their efforts to green their economies
  • to help corporations develop greener business models
  • to encourage consumers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. 



“Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial process.” See


Montreal Protocol

“The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was designed to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere, and thereby protect the earth’s fragile ozone Layer. The original Montreal Protocol was agreed on 16 September 1987 and entered into force on 1 January 1989.” See




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News and Media

UN Webcast




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“Ozone affects climate, and climate affects ozone. Temperature, humidity, winds, and the presence of other chemicals in the atmosphere influence ozone formation, and the presence of ozone, in turn, affects those atmospheric constituents.” See

DEFRA ‘Ozone depletion and climate change’ See




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Partculate Matter (PM emissions)

Particulate matter (PM) – are tiny pieces of solid or liquid matter associated with the Earth’s atmosphere. They are suspended in the atmosphere as atmospheric aerosol, a term which refers to the particulate/air mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone. Associated with air quality and emissions. See



See The Poverty Site



UK population statistics See

Population and Sustainability Network See



Professional Bodies and Associations

Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment

Institution of Sustainability Professionals

International Institute for Sustainable Tourism

UK Sustainable Development Association




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“Recycling is the process of re-using a given product (beyond its intended use), or producing a new product from a recyclable material.” See



Renewable Energy (Renewables)

“Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat, which are renewable because they are naturally replenished at a constant rate.”  See

Also See

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

“The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the Government’s principal mechanism for driving forward the transition to deployment of renewable and low carbon heat over the coming decades. The RHI is a key contributor in achieving the UK’s share of the EU’s renewable energy targets and the Carbon Plan, which provides the two key objectives of the scheme:

  • To increase the deployment of renewable heat technologies in order to keep the UK on track to meet the 2020 target in the most cost effective way. The Renewable Energy Strategy 2009 outlined that heat could contribute 12 % (72 TWh) towards meeting this target.
  • To contribute to the UK’s carbon targets of achieving an 80% reduction by 2050”




Renewables Obligations (RO)

The RO places a mandatory requirement on licensed UK electricity suppliers to source a specified and annually increasing proportion of electricity they supply to customers from eligible renewable sources or pay a penalty. The scheme is administered by Ofgem who issue Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to electricity generators in relation to the amount of eligible renewable electricity they generate. Generators sell their ROCs to suppliers or traders which allows them to receive a premium in addition to the wholesale electricity price. See


REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century)


The REN21 website includes a renewables country data search. See



Ecosystem resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes. A resilient ecosystem can withstand shocks and rebuild itself when necessary. Resilience in social systems has the added capacity of humans to anticipate and plan for the future. Humans are part of the natural world. We depend on ecological systems for our survival and we continuously impact the ecosystems in which we live from the local to global scale. Resilience is a property of these linked social-ecological systems (SES). “Resilience” as applied to ecosystems, or to integrated systems of people and the natural environment, has three defining characteristics:

  • The amount of change the system can undergo and still retain the same controls on function and structure
  • The degree to which the system is capable of self-organization
  • The ability to build and increase the capacity for learning and adaptation



Resource Efficiency


UNEP Resource Efficiency –



United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held at Rio de Janeiro – held on 20th to 22nd June 2012

Outcome text: The Future We Want


Roadmap for 2050

See ‘European Commission – Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050’

“The Roadmap sets out a cost-efficient pathway to reach the target of reducing domestic emissions by 80% by 2050. To get there, Europe’s emissions should be 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 60% below by 2040. All sectors will have to contribute.” See




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Shanghai Manual: A Guide for Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century


Silent Spring

“Silent Spring is a book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin in September 1962. The book is widely credited with launching the environmentalism movement in the West. See webpage...


Social Impact Assessment

‘Social Impact Assessment (SIA) includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, of planned interventions (policies, programs, plans, projects) and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.’ SIA Hub website See


 Social Well-being

What is Well-being See

UK Office of National Statistics See

Software Tools

There are many tools available to architects, engineers, builders, contractors and their clients to evaluate their projects in order help lessen the environmental impact. See US Dept of Energy – Building Software Tools Directory  website for a good list of links


 Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP)

“The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is DECC’s methodology for assessing and comparing the energy and environmental performance of dwellings. Its purpose is to provide accurate and reliable assessments of dwelling energy performances that are needed to underpin energy and environmental policy initiatives.

SAP works by assessing how much energy a dwelling will consume and how much carbon dioxide (CO2 ) will be emitted in delivering a defined level of comfort and service provision, based on standardised occupancy conditions. This enables a like for like comparison of dwelling performance.

SAP was developed by the Building Research Establishment for the former Department of the Environment in 1992, as a tool to help deliver its energy efficiency policies. The SAP methodology is based on the BRE’s Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM), which provides a framework for calculating the energy consumption of dwellings. In 1994 SAP was cited in Part L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales as a means of assessing dwelling performance. Reduced Data SAP (RDSAP) was introduced in 2005 as a lower cost method of assessing the performance of existing dwellings.”

See DECC website


Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

“Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is intended to increase the consideration of environmental issuesduring decision making related to strategic documents such as plans, programmes and strategies.

The SEA identifies the significant environmental effects that are likely to result from the implementation of the plan or alternative approaches to the plan.

The findings of the assessment are presented in an environmental report that is consulted upon, with the public, alongside a draft of the plan. Issues raised in the environmental report and in responses to the consultation must be considered by the plan-maker before the plan is formally adopted.” See


Stiglitz Report (also known as Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Report)

Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress which has developed ideas about ‘well-being’ realted to economics.

“In February 2008, the President of the French Republic, Nicholas Sarkozy, unsatisfied with the present state of statistical information about the economy and the society, asked, Joseph Stiglitz (President of the Commission), Amartya Sen (Advisor) and Jean Paul Fitoussi (Coordinator) to create a Commission, subsequently called “The Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress” (CMEPSP). The Commission’s aim has been to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, including the problems with its measurement; to consider what additional information might be required for the production of more relevant indicators of social progress; to assess the feasibility of alternative measurement tools, and to discuss how to present the statistical information in an appropriate way.” Stiglitz Report (2010)


Supply Chain

“A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chain activities transform natural resources, raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer. In sophisticated supply chain systems, used products may re-enter the supply chain at any point where residual value is recyclable.”  See Wikipedia



“Sustainability is based on a simple principle: everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.” US EPA See

Sustainable Development

The most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development, that of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations on March 20, 1987: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Brundtland Report – copy gained be accessed at

Brundtland Report 20 years on


“The Brundtland Report laid the groundwork for the convening of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro five years later. Held in June 1992, the Rio Summit was the largest environmental conference ever organized, bringing together over 30,000 participants, including more than one hundred heads of state. The summit represented a major step forward, with international agreements made on climate change, forests and biodiversity. Among the summit’s outcomes were the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Principles of Forest Management, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and Agenda 21, which required countries to draw up a national strategy of sustainable development. The summit also led to the establishment of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.

Ten years later, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg led to more governmental commitments and helped extend the concept’s reach into the areas of business, local government and civil society. “Sustainable development is a bridge concept connecting economics, ecology and ethics,” says Desai, who was the Deputy Secretary-General for the 1992 Rio Summit, the Secretary-General of the 2002 Johannesburg Summit, and an Under Secretary-General at UN Headquarters from 1993 to 2003. “The challenge is to connect and integrate various sectoral policies, such as agriculture, energy, trade or investment,” he says. “To get real action, the ownership of the concept of sustainable development must extend to all sectoral agencies and – most importantly – to key private-sector stake holders.”


“Fundamentally, sustainable development is a notion of discipline. It means humanity must ensure that meeting present needs does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Gro Harlem Brundtland

“Future generation is the most important thing.” Confucius

“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.” Marshall McLuhan


Sustainable Energy

“Sustainable energy—energy that is accessible, cleaner and more efficient—powers opportunity”.

UN Sustainable Energy for All See


Sustainable Health

A sustainable health and care system is about contributing to achieving enhanced wellbeing of communities by delivering high quality care and improved public health in association with other agencies.

See UK NHS Sustainable Development Unit


Sustainable Procurement

“Procurement is called sustainable when it integrates requirements, specifications and criteria that are compatible and in favour of the protection of the environment, of social progress and in support of economic development, namely by seeking resource efficiency, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately optimizing costs.” See

Action Sustainability website

BS 8903: principles and framework for procuring sustainability

“BS 8903 defines sustainable procurement as “only purchasing goods that are really needed, and buying items or services whose production, use and disposal bothminimize negative impacts and encourage positive outcomes for the environment, economy and society.” The standard adds that “Sustainable procurement is good procurement and should not be viewed as an abstract, idealistic goal, but as a practical and achievable objective for all organizations, large and small.”

Sustainable Society Index

The Sustainable Society Index (SSI) has been developed to show at a glance the level of sustainability of 151 countries. See


Sustainable Supply Chains

“Supply chain sustainability is a holistic perspective of supply chain processes and technologies that go beyond the focus of delivery, inventory and traditional views of cost. This emerging philosophy is based on the principle that socially responsible products and practices are not only good for the environment, but are important for long-term profitability.” See

See website Sustainable Supply Chains Through Innovation


Sustainable Yield

“The sustainable yield of renewable natural resources is traditionally defined as the extraction level of the resource which does not exceed the growth.” See



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Target Zero

“Target Zero is a free online resource offering guidance to anyone in the construction industry who would like to know more about how to design carbon-free, low carbon footprint and high BREEAM rated buildings.  With such a huge issue it can be difficult to know where to start, so this resource is designed to focus attention in the right areas.”

Guidance Reports on how to try achieve ‘zero carbon’ buildings



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UK Government Carbon Plan

Carbon Plan (Strategy for 2050 Dec 2011)



UNEP United Nations Environment Programme



United Nations Department for Social and Economic Affairs

Core documents



United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development



Urban Development

Shanghai Manual: A Guide for Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century




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Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)

A VOC is “any organic compound having an initial boiling point less than or equal to 250 °C (482 °F) measured at a standard atmospheric pressure of 101.3 kPa and can do damage to visual or audible senses”. Associated with air quality and emissions.


Voltage Optimisation

If your site is being supplied with electricity at a higher voltage level than you need, you could be wasting energy and money, and be responsible for greater emissions than necessary. This is where voltage optimisation or voltage management can help.

See Carbon Trust Voltage Management Publication




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WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme)

WRAP was set up in 2000 to help recycling take off in the UK and to create a market for recycled materials. It has helped governments devise strategies to deal with waste issues through expertise, research and practical advice. See WRAP website.



“Any substance or object the holder discards, intends to discard or is required to discard” is WASTE under the Waste Framework Directive (European Directive (WFD) 2006/12/EC), as amended by the new Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC, coming into force in December 2010). See


Waste Hierarchy

DEFRA Waste Hierarchy

‘prevention’ means measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce:

(a) the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life span of products;

(b) the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health; or

(c) the content of harmful substances in materials and products;

re-use’ means any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived;

‘preparing for re-use’ means checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other pre-processing;

‘recycling’ means any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances whether for the original or other purposes. It includes the reprocessing of organic material but does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials.

‘recovery’ means any operation the principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function, or waste being prepared to fulfil that function, in the plant or in the wider economy.

‘disposal’ means any operation which is not recovery even where the operation has as a secondary consequence the reclamation of substances or energy. Annex I sets out a non-exhaustive list of disposal operations;



EU Waste Hierarchy definitions



WRAP Waste Hierarchy See




Waste Management

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Division for Sustainable Development

Documents on solid waste:


 Waste Stream

“A waste stream is the complete flow of waste from domestic or industrial areas through to final disposal. The intervention of recycling may act to lessen the content of a waste stream as it moves down the line.” See



State of well-being …in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. WHO Website

Definitions of wellbeing on National Wellness Institute of Australia

“Three main conceptual approaches have proved useful in thinking about the measurement
of QoL (Quality of Life): the first is based on the notion of subjective well-being, the second on the notion of
capabilities, and the third on economic notions drawn from welfare economics and from the
theory of fair allocations. Each of these approaches informs different measurement strategies.
While these approaches may represent opposite poles in intellectual terms, they all have a role
to play in measuring QoL.” (pg. 145) Stiglitz Report

UK Office of National Statistics  Measuring National Well-being: Life in the UK, 2012

UK Office of National Statistics Well-being Interactive Wheel – Measuring What Matters: understanding the nation’s well-being.



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Zero Carbon Standard

The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016.

Zero Carbon Hub (for homes) See



Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. See