Learn the language to better undetstand these challenges.
- This term encompasses those actions by governments, communities, businesses and individuals to understand, plan for and respond to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. These actions could include, for example, avoiding community development in areas that may be prone to flooding due to climate change, or building roads and culverts to higher standards if more intense precipitation is expected.
- Refers to fuel derived from natural substances like vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in standard diesel engines and can also be used as a low-carbon alternative to heating oil. Depending on its use, biodiesel can be used in its pure form or may be blended with petroleum diesel at various concentrations.
- Cap and trade
- See "emissions trading"
- Carbon dioxide
- This is a greenhouse gas. In relation to human activities, carbon dioxide is most commonly released as a result of burning fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, as well as through deforestation.
- Carbon footprint
- The amount of greenhouse gases generated by an organization, product, event or person, including direct emissions (e.g. burning fossil fuels), indirect emissions (e.g. electricity consumption), and embedded emissions (i.e. emissions generated through the production of a good or service).
- Carbon sinks
- An area of land or water that can absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests are the most common form of carbon sink, as well as soils, peat, permafrost, ocean water and carbonate deposits in the deep ocean.
- Carbon taxes
- Taxes that are placed on fuels that emit greenhouse gases when consumed, which provide an incentive for consumers to improve their energy efficiency or switch to alternative fuels. Within Canada, British levies carbon taxes on fuels, such as gasoline and diesel.
- Clean energy
- See "renewable energy"
- Climate change
- Changes in long-term weather patterns caused by human activities that release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, such as burning fossil fuels. The increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the past 150 years has altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere, causing it to trap too much heat. Rising global temperatures are thereby causing climates around the world to change.
- Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP)
- This is a forum of Premiers from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and Governors from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut. Premiers and Governors meet annually to address various cross-border issues, including energy and climate change.
- Council of Atlantic Premiers (CAP)
- This is a forum of Premiers from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Premiers meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern, including energy development and the environment.
- Council of the Federation (COF)
- This is a forum of all Canadian Premiers and Territorial Leaders. It meets annually to address key issues in Canada, including energy and climate change.
- The removal of a forest or group of trees for non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include converting forestland into farms or community development.
- Electric vehicle
- Electric vehicles run solely on electricity and are powered by plugging into the electricity grid (such as the Nissan Leaf) rather than stopping at a gas pump. These vehicles require charging stations with an outlet, similar to what we use for our clothes dryers. After a few hours of being charged, they can be unplugged and driven.
- Emissions trading
- Commonly referred to as "cap-and-trade", this is a regulatory regime that sets limits on the annual greenhouse gas emissions of certain industries or facilities and requires them to obtain tradable credits to cover emissions over their limit. These credits can be purchased from an entity that has reduced its emissions below its target. Additionally, trading systems often permit the use of "offset credits," which are generated by greenhouse gas-reducing projects that are not subject to the emissions trading regulation (e.g. forestation projects).
- Energy audit
- An audit designed to determine where, when and how energy is being used, with the goal of identifying opportunities to improve energy efficiency or to verify the effectiveness of efforts to improve energy efficiency after they have been implemented.
- Energy conservation
- This refers to the behaviours of individuals that reduce energy consumption, such as switching off lights when leaving a room or lowering thermostat settings at night.
- Energy efficiency
- This refers to using less energy to provide the same or better level of energy service. For example, increasing insulation or buying a high-efficiency furnace can allow a home to be heated to the same extent while using less energy.
- Energy Management Information Systems (EMIS)
- An EMIS is a performance management system that enables individuals and organizations to plan, make decisions and take effective action to manage energy use and costs.
- The EnerGuide label is the official Government of Canada logo telling consumers how much energy an item uses. These labels are mandatory on appliances and new vehicles sold in Canada, and are optional for houses. The label does not identify the most energy-efficient options.
- ENERGY STAR
- The international ENERGY STAR symbol identifies the most energy-efficient products that are available. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol, a product must typically be among the top 25% of all makes and models on the market in terms of energy efficiency. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on over 40 different types of products, including windows, doors, household appliances and electronics.
- Fossil fuels
- Fuels like gasoline and diesel are often referred to as "fossil fuels" because they were formed or processed from organic material compressed deep underground millions of years ago. When combusted to generate energy, fossil fuels release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas.
- Global warming
- See "greenhouse effect"
- Green economy
- This is an economic development model that focuses on the promotion of economic growth while preventing environmental pollution, global warming, resource depletion and ecological degradation.
- Green lease
- A "green lease" is a lease for a space that requires features that are environmentally sustainable, such as access to recycling and an energy-efficient heating system.
- Greenhouse effect
- The earth is surrounded by a layer of naturally occurring gases, known as its atmosphere, that trap heat from the sun and make the planet livable. This is known as the greenhouse effect. However, over the past 150 years, humans have been releasing more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect is intensifying, which is causing global temperatures to rise.
- Greenhouse gases (GHGs)
- These are gases within the earth's atmosphere that trap heat on earth. The three most common greenhouse gases released as a result of human activities are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20).
- Hybrid vehicle
- A "hybrid" vehicle has two sources of power: an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. These vehicles offer superior fuel efficiency because the electric motor reduces the amount of fuel required by the combustion engine to run the vehicle.
- A type of clean, renewable energy that is generated through the force of falling or flowing water. Electricity is created when this force is harnessed and used to spin electricity-generating turbines. Hydroelectricity is the primary source of electricity in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) Curves
- Based on statistical analysis of past data patterns, an IDF curve estimates the likely intensity (mm per hour), duration (5 minutes to 24 hours) and frequency one in every two to 100 years) of future precipitation events. This tool is utilized globally by governments, engineers and the construction industry to design infrastructure to appropriate standards, such as roads and bridges.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- The IPCC is the world's most authoritative source on climate change science. It was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. The IPCC does not conduct research, but surveys peer reviewed scientific and technical literature, based upon which it publishes assessment reports.
- Invasive species
- These are species of plants or animals that are not currently native to a particular area. They can have an adverse effect on marine or terrestrial habitats.
- Kyoto Protocol
- This was an international treaty that set legally binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by industrialized countries from 2008-2012.
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
- LEED is an internationally recognized, third-party certification system for the design, construction and operation of environmentally sustainable buildings. There are four possible levels of certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum, each more stringent than the previous.
- Life-cycle costing
- Refers to the total cost of ownership of a product over its life cycle. Costs considered include the financial, environmental and social costs related to a product. Among other things, life cycle cost considerations may include the use of raw materials, energy, water, the amount of waste created, and maintenance requirements, as well as external costs elsewhere in the economy such as health care, food production, and premature infrastructure repair.
- A watt is a derived unit of power, defined as one joule per second, which measures the rate of energy conversion or transfer. A megawatt is equal to one million watts. The capacity of electricity generating projects is typically measured in megawatts.
- This is a greenhouse gas. In relation to human activities, methane is most commonly released as a result of agricultural operations or when buried organic waste decays in a landfill.
- This term encompasses those actions by governments, communities, businesses and individuals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid or minimize the effects of climate change.
- Offset credits
- See "emissions trading"
- Maintained by the Government of Canada, R-2000 is a performance-based standard for energy-efficient houses. Since 1982, the R-2000 label has been a symbol of the most energy-efficient homes in Canada.
- This refers to the thermal resistance of insulation, meaning how well it reduces heat transfer. All insulation has an R-Value and the higher the R-Value, the more effective the insulation is at reducing heat transfer.
- Renewable energy
- Sources of energy that are inherently self-renewing, such as hydro, solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy.
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- An international treaty signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro that established the "ultimate objective" for action to tackle climate change; namely, to stabilize "greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system."