Biodiesel — A fuel made from a vegetable oil or animal fat that can be used in standard diesel engines as a low-carbon alternative to regular diesel fuel.
Biodiversity — The variety of life and its processes that includes the diversity of living organisms, the genetic differences among them and the communities and ecosystems in which they occur.
Cap-and-trade market — The central part of the emission trading mechanism. Under this mechanism, an authority sets a limit or cap on emissions of a pollutant and allows entities that exceed the limit to buy emission credits from those whose emissions fall below the limit. (See “Carbon credit”)
Carbon credit — A permit that allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions. The permits can be traded. (See “Cap-and-trade market”)
Carbon footprint — The amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of the consumption of fossil fuels by a person, group, business or country.
(Carbon) fuel standard — A rule designed to reduce the carbon content of transportation fuels. The most common low-carbon fuels are natural gas, ethanol and biodiesel.
Carbon neutrality — Net zero carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions achieved by balancing an amount of carbon dioxide in emissions released into the atmosphere with an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide in sequestered or offset emissions, or carbon credits (or a mixture of both measures).
Carbon trading — A system of trade related to schemes designed to limit carbon (greenhouse gas) emissions. (See “Cap-and-trade market”)
Environmental sustainability — The capacity to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising ecosystems and environments essential to future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.
Greenhouse gas emissions — Emissions of mostly carbon gases produced by human activity and natural processes that trap heat in the atmosphere, thereby causing global warming. Carbon dioxide and methane are the primary greenhouse gases.
Housing (urban, development) density — The number of people who live in an urbanized area. Higher densities are associated with benefits such as more efficient use of transportation and infrastructure, such as water and sewage systems.
Smart grid — An electricity grid configured as a network of providers, delivery systems and customers that allows for interactions between the utility and its customers. Such a grid uses digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase the reliability and transparency of supply.
Smart land use — A public policy that seeks to make efficient and environmentally friendly use of land. It is part of environmentally sensitive land development designed to minimize dependence on auto transportation, reduce air pollution and make infrastructure investments more efficient.
Renewable portfolio standard — A regulation that requires utilities and other electricity providers to generate a specific portion of their supplies from eligible renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal.