For the countries Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Saudia Arabia, South Africa and South Korea the following data is based on the year 2005:
Air pollution describes the presence of chemical, physical (e.g. particulate matter), or biological agents that modify the natural characteristics of the atmosphere, interfere with human health or welfare, or produce harmful environmental effects. In environmental policy, air pollution is usually addressed separately from the greenhouse effect, as it refers to those agents that have harmful consequences for the biosphere, human health and buildings through direct interaction with those systems while climate policy focuses on gases with the capacity to alter the global climate. Although the most important greenhouse gases do not directly act as pollutants, efforts to limit air pollution and climate policy are interrelated since the same sources are addressed.
Annex I Parties are the industrialised countries listed in Annex I to the UNFCCC that have declared their willingness to introduce national climate policies in order to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions to earlier levels. They include the 24 original OECD Members: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as the European Union, Liechtenstein and Monaco and14 countries with economies in transition: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. All except for Belarus and Turkey are also listed in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol since they have accepted mandatory emissions targets for the period 2008-12.
Fuel efficiency refers to the proportion of energy released by fuel combustion that is converted into useful energy, such as to propel a vehicle. It is typically represented as the ratio of vehicle kilometres/miles travelled divided by the litres/gallons of fuel consumed. Limiting this ratio by implementing standards is a political measure to reduce fuel consumption and thereby decrease air pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel derived from oil feedstock or any other oil containing products such as fish liver oil or cooking fat. The most common commercial application for biodiesel is the use of modified rape seed oil because rape seed methyl ester (RME) can be used in modified diesel engines. The suggested advantage of biodiesel is that the carbon in feedstock used for biodiesel is generally extracted from the atmosphere by photosynthetic plants. Subsequently, up to 60% net carbon dioxide emissions can be saved when biodiesel is used instead of petroleum-based diesel.
Bioethanol is a biofuel produced from biomass and/or the biodegradable fraction of the waste. It can be made from agricultural feedstock containing sugar and starch such as sugar cane, corn and wheat. A not yet commercially available option is the production of lingo-cellulosic ethanol which includes wood, grasses and other biomass as possible sources. Bioethanol is considered to be carbon neutral, since the carbon in bioethanol feedstocks has before been extracted from the atmosphere by the photosynthesis of plants. Hence, in contrast to fossil fuels, bioethanol is assumed not to add any additional carbon to the global carbon cycle.
Biofuels are fuels derived from organic matter. They comprise biodiesel, bioethanol, and biogas. Biofuels are considered to be carbon neutral, since the carbon in biofuel feedstocks has already been extracted from the atmosphere by the photosynthesis of plants. Hence, in contrast to fossil fuels, biofuels are assumed not to add any additional carbon to the global carbon cycle.
Biogas is methane, which is produced by the fermentation of organic material such as animal dung, human sewage, organic waste or crop residues in an airtight environment. Biogas is considered to be carbon neutral, since the carbon in biogas feedstocks has already been extracted from the atmosphere by the photosynthesis of plants. Hence, in contrast to fossil fuels, biogas is assumed not to add any additional carbon to the global carbon cycle.
The term BRICS stands for the countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These countries are not part of the OECD, but their population size, as well as their political and economic influence make them important players in international climate policy.
Carbon dioxide is a gas naturally produced by animals during respiration and through decay of biomass and used by plants during photosynthesis. Although its concentration in the atmosphere is only at 379 parts per million – i. e., it constitutes less than 0.04 percent of the atmosphere – it is the most important greenhouse gas. The combustion of fossil fuels increases carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) are climate credits (or carbon credits) issued for emission reductions achieved by CDM projects. CERs can be used by >Annex 1 countries in order to comply with their emission limitation targets. One CER stands for a reduction of one ton of CO2 equivalents.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the three Kyoto Protocol mechanisms. Under the CDM, Annex I Parties can finance greenhouse gas emission reduction or removal projects in developing countries (non-Annex I Parties). The Annex I Parties can then use the credits to comply with their mandatory reduction targets.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines climate change as "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods".
Climate policy refers to policies that address climate change. Climate policy can be divided into two main areas: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation efforts aim both at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and at enhancing the capacities of sinks (e.g. forests) to absorb greenhouse gases. Adaptation refers to measures intended to reduce societies' vulnerability to climate change.
Climate technologies that reduce or even avoid CO2-emissions cannot be defined easily as they often consist of numerous primary products and are based on other technologies, which might not be characterized as protecting the climate themselves. In the narrow definition of this database climate technologies comprise innovations from renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, geothermal, ocean energy, biomass, waste-to-energy, and hydropower), methane destruction, climate-friendly cement, energy conservation in buildings, motor vehicle fuel injection, energy-efficient lighting and Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS).
Combustibles are substances that can be burned to provide heat or power.
CO2 equivalent is a relative measure which is used to compare the climate impact of emissions or concentrations of different greenhouse gases. For a given greenhouse gas emission, the measure establishes the amount of CO2 that would have the same effect on the climate by multiplying the emitted amount with the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the concerned greenhouse gas.
A CO2 tax is a compulsory tax levied on fuels proportional to their carbon content. By attaching a price to carbon, the tax aims at encouraging less carbon-intensive fuels and reducing energy consumption.
The Conference of the Parties is the supreme body of the UNFCCC. It is composed of all Parties and meets once a year to review the Convention's progress. The COP decides on the adoption of legal instruments to achieve the objectives of the Convention.
Under the UNFCCC, the Conference of the Parties (COP) also serves as the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol. The sessions of the COP and the COP/MOP are held during the same period to reduce costs and improve coordination between the Convention and the Protocol.
A diesel tax is a sales tax imposed on the sale of diesel. Due to diesel's fuel-efficiency, governments tend to favour diesel in their taxation policy. Thus, diesel tax rates are often lower than tax rates for other fuels.
An emission is either a substance released into the environment, or the act of releasing this substance. Most commonly, emission refers to a substance discharged into the air, especially exhaust gases resulting from the combustion of fuels.
Emissions trading is a system where rights to emit certain harmful substances are
created and at the same time limited by a cap. Those emitters that have stayed below
their allowed limit (or below the amount estimated under a baseline scenario) can
sell their surplus emission rights ("allowances" or "credits",
respectively) to emitters whose emissions have exceeded
the maximum admissible amount. The underlying idea is to achieve environmental objectives
at the lowest possible economic costs by creating a market mechanism that directs
emission reduction efforts to those sources of emissions where abatement costs are
lowest. The first emissions trading scheme was created in the USA for sulphur dioxide
With respect to greenhouse gas emissions, the Kyoto Protocol provides for International Emissions Trading (IET) as one of the three Kyoto mechanisms. IET means that an Annex I Party can transfer emission allowances (called "Assigned Amount Units") to or acquire units from another Annex I Party. Independently from the IET, nations or regions can also establish separate emissions trading schemes in order to achieve their reduction targets. The best-known example is the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) which – in contrast to IET between countries – allocates emission credits to private companies.
Energy efficiency standards are procedures and regulations on the energy performance of manufactured products, which sometimes prohibit the sale of products less energy-efficient than the minimum standard, often called minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). Energy efficiency standards can be complemented by energy efficiency labels, which provide consumers with data necessary for making informed purchases, e.g. information on energy use, efficiency, or cost.
Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas and petroleum products (such as oil) formed from decayed organic matter over millions of years. Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable, as their formation requires geological time periods. The combustion of fossil fuels leads to an increase of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, since carbon that was stored in the earth's crust over very long periods of time is released within a very short time period.
The Group of the tewnty most important industrial and emerging-market countries was established in 1999 to bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy. G-20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America. The countries represented directly or indirectly together account for around 90 per cent of global gross national product and 80 per cent of world trade (including EU intra-trade).
The gasoline (or fuel or petrol) tax is an excise tax levied on gasoline. One objective is to induce lower gasoline consumption. The gasoline tax is often higher than the diesel tax, since gasoline has a lower efficiency than diesel.
Global Warming Potential is an index representing the combined effect of the differing times greenhouse gas remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. The index indicates how much a given greenhouse gas contributes to global warming. The GWP of carbon dioxide is defined as "one" to allow a straightforward conversion of emissions resulting from other greenhouse gases than CO2 into CO2 equivalents.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total output of goods and services produced by a national economy in a given period, usually a year, valued at market prices. It is gross, since no allowance is made for the value of replacement of capital goods. There are different methods of calculating GDP. Current dollar GDP is calculated using today's dollars, thereby rendering comparisons between time periods difficult because of the effects of inflation. Constant dollar GDP solves this problem by converting the current information into some standard era dollar, such as 2000 dollars. This process factors out the effects of inflation and allows easy comparisons between periods. PPP stands for purchasing power parity, a criterion for an appropriate rate of exchange that accounts for price differences across countries. At the PPP US$ rate, PPP US$1 has the same purchasing power in the domestic economy as $1 has in the United States, thus allowing international comparisons of GDP.
The greenhouse effect is the warming of the earth's atmosphere caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that act similar to a pane of glass in a greenhouse, allowing sunlight to pass through and heat the earth but preventing a counterbalancing loss of heat radiation. The natural greenhouse effect is a vital condition for human life on earth. Human activity since industrialisation has, however, led to an increase of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, thereby creating an additional anthropogenic (or enhanced) greenhouse effect. It results in an increased global mean temperature and a variety of climatic changes following from the temperature increase.
Many chemical compounds found in the Earth's atmosphere act as greenhouse gases. These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth's surface, some is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere, leading to the greenhouse effect. The Kyoto Protocol covers the following greenhouse gases, listed in its Annex A: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6).
Gross Value Added (GVA) is a measure in economics of the value of goods and services produced in an area or sector of an economy. Gross value added provides a value for the amount of goods and services that have been produced, less the cost of all inputs and raw materials that are directly attributable to that production.
One Giga Watt hour equals one billion watt hours or one million kilowatthours. A kilowatthour is the electrical energy unit of measure equal to 1000 watt of power supplied to an electric circuit steadily for one hour.
Hydropower is the renewable source of energy provided by falling water that drives a turbine. There are two types of hydroelectric power plants: run-of-river power plants for the use of affluent water; and storage power plants where the influx can be regulated with the help of a reservoir.
Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation and the UN Environment Programme, the IPCC evaluates peer-reviewed scientific and technical literature and publishes assessment reports. Reports have been published in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. They are widely recognised as the most credible existing sources of information on climate change since they represent a consensus of the world's leading climate scientists. In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the IPCC for its efforts to build up and disseminate knowledge about climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
Joint Implementation (JI) is one of the three Kyoto mechanisms. Through JI, an Annex I Party can receive “Emission Reduction Units” (ERUs) when it helps to finance projects that reduce net greenhouse gas emissions in another Annex I country.
The Kyoto mechanisms (also called flexible mechanisms, or flexibility mechanisms) consist of three procedures established under the Kyoto Protocol to increase flexibility and reduce the costs of cutting greenhouse gas emissions: International Emissions Trading (IET), Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement adopted by the Parties to the UNFCCC at the third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto in 1997. For industrialised countries listed in its Annex B, the Kyoto Protocol sets legally binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It entered into force on 16 February 2005 when more than 55 Parties to the Convention, representing more than 55% of the total carbon dioxide emissions of Annex 1 countries in 1990 had ratified the treaty.
Ratification is the formal approval, often by a Parliament of a convention, protocol, or treaty, enabling a country to become a Party. Ratification is a separate process that occurs after a country has signed an agreement. The UNFCCC and the Kyoto protocol must be signed and ratified separately. In 2009, 186 of the 192 Parties to the UNFCCC were also Parties to the Kyoto protocol. It is also possible to become a Party to the Kyoto Protocol by accepting, approving, or acceding to it. For example, the European Union only "approved" the Kyoto Protocol, since the legislative power lies in the hands of the national parliaments.
Kyoto target is the targeted reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by industrialised countries, fixed in Annex B of the Kyoto protocol. Kyoto targets are defined as percentage reductions from the base year (for most countries: 1990) to the average of the five-year period for 2008-2012.
LULUCF is 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, such as the conversion of forests into arable land. When forests are burned or the wood decomposes after clear-cutting, the carbon stored in the trees and the soil is released to the atmosphere as CO2. Conversely, the LULUCF sector can also increase carbon sequestration by carbon sinks, for example through afforestation measures, thereby reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Founded in 1961, the OECD currently is comprised of 30 developed countries committed to democracy and a market economy. The OECD promotes international co-operation for policy comparison and the exchange of good practices, as well as outreach to non-OECD countries. The OECD maintains extensive databases of world statistical, economic, and social data.
The ozone layer is the lower region of the stratosphere, 15—25 kilometres above the earth's surface which contains a relatively high ozone concentration. The ozone concentration is declining due to a number of ozone-depleting substances. To counteract ozone depletion, the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims at phasing out those substances. The depletion of the ozone layer and the appearance of ozone holes are separate environmental issues, independent from climate change. However, many of the ozone-depleting substances are also potent greenhouse gases, as are some of the substances that have been used to replace the compounds banned under the Montreal Protocol. Therefore, policies aiming at the protection of the ozone layer are also relevant for climate change mitigation.
A Party is a State (or a regional economic integration organisation such as the European Union) that agrees to be bound by a treaty and for which the treaty has entered into force.
Primary energy consumption is all energy consumed by end users, plus the losses that occur in the process of converting primary energy into end energy. To prevent double counting, primary energy consumption includes the energy consumed at electric utilities to generate electricity, but not the electricity consumed by the end user. Thus, primary energy consumption encompasses energy used for heating and transport purposes, as well as electricity consumption and the losses resulting from the generation, transport and distribution of electricity.
Primary energy supply includes a country's domestic energy production and any imports of primary energy into a country. Exports of primary energy to other countries are subtracted. Primary energy supply can be broken down by energy type e.g. renewable primary energy supply.
Research & Development is defined in this context as basic and applied research in the sciences and engineering and the design and development of prototypes and processes.
Renewable energy is energy derived from resources that are regenerative, or for all practical purposes cannot be depleted. Renewable energy sources include solar energy (photovoltaic and solar thermal), wind, hydropower, biomass, geothermal energy, as well as wave and tidal power.
There are two general types of subsidies: export and domestic. An export subsidy is a benefit conferred on a firm that is contingent on exports. A domestic subsidy is a benefit not directly linked to exports. Subsidies can be given by either a transfer of money to an entity in the private sector or by a tax concession. Renewable energy subsidies are a form of domestic subsidies to help the industry keep the prices of power generated from renewable energy sources low and thus encourage the use of renewable energy.
A ton oil equivalent, or toe, is the unit of energy that results from the combustion of one ton of oil. The term is often used to describe the energy consumption or production of a country. The toe is also used to make comparisons between various fuels. One toe is defined as 41.868 gigajoules.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) sets a framework for international climate policy, its ultimate objective being the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." It was opened for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro and entered into force on 21 March 1994, when over 50 countries had ratified the treaty. In 2007, 190 nations and the European Union are Parties to the UNFCCC, which means that it has almost universal membership.