Sustainability Glossary

Global is leading the way into a new era of sustainability that comes with new terms, technology, initiatives, and policies. This guide provides definitions and information to make it easier to keep track of the changes, navigate our GlobalGLO solutions, and move confidently into a low-carbon future.

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To qualify as a genuine carbon offset, the emissions reductions achieved by a project must be in “addition” to what would have occurred had the project not been implemented.

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A renewable, biodegradable, clean-burning fuel derived from organic, renewable materials such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease. Compared to traditional diesel, it reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases by up to 86% when used. Creating biodiesel involves chemically reacting lipids (e.g., vegetable oil, animal fat, etc.) with alcohol-producing fatty acid esters. This process is known as transesterification. The resulting fuel can be used in a standard diesel engine without any modifications. Biodiesel meets the biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

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Biogenic Emissions

The release of greenhouse gas emissions as part of the natural carbon cycle and those resulting from the combustion, decomposing, or processing of biological materials. Biogenic emissions primarily consist of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Examples of biogenic emissions include the release of CO2 during biomass combustion or methane production from the decomposition of organic waste.

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Biological carbon sequestration, or biosequestration, involves capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide through natural or enhanced biological processes. This form of carbon sequestration occurs through increased rates of photosynthesis via land-use practices such as reforestation and sustainable forest management.

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Organic materials such as wood, crops and agriculture residues, vegetable oils and animal fats, animal manure, waste, or plant materials that is often used for renewable energy production. Biomass can be used directly via combustion to produce heat and electricity or converted into various forms of biofuel, such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, RNG, or ethanol.

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Blue Carbon

Refers to the carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems. These ecosystems, including mangroves, seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and even some algae, are efficient natural sinks that sequester and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Book and Claim

Book-and-claim accounting refers to the chain-of-custody model in which decoupled environmental attributes, such as Renewable Energy Certificates, are used to represent the ownership and transfer of transportation fuel under the LCFS without regard to physical traceability.

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California-specific version of Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET life cycle model used to calculate emissions, water, and energy consumption under the California LCFS.

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California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS)

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is a regulation implemented by California to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in the state. The LCFS aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the use of cleaner and renewable fuels.

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Related: Carbon Intensity (CI), CA-GREET, Credits and Deficits, and The Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program.

Cap and Trade

A regulatory process that sets a “cap” or maximum limit on the greenhouse gases that companies are permitted to emit. Companies that emit less than their set limit can sell their surplus emissions to those that have surpassed their limit. This system ultimately lets the market find the most economical way to cut emissions through trading ». Several states and countries around the world are currently implementing and/or creating these programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Carbon Accounting

A framework used to quantify an organization’s direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to their operations, including supply chain emissions/ or fully: Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

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Carbon Allowances

Permissions or credits given to participants in a regulated carbon market, allowing them to emit a specified amount of greenhouse gases.

Carbon Broker

Person or entity facilitating buying and selling carbon credits in the carbon market. They help businesses and individuals trade their carbon allowances effectively.

Carbon Budget

The maximum amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that can be released into the atmosphere while keeping global warming within a specific target (1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement).

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Carbon Capture

This is the process of trapping or capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) at the point of emission, typically from large industrial processes, such as fossil fuel power generation or industrial manufacturing.

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

An extension of carbon capture where the captured carbon dioxide is securely stored (typically deep underground), preventing it from being released into the atmosphere.

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Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)

The process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) for use in new products and services or for permanent storage.

Carbon Compensated Natural Gas

Natural gas production and consumption in which the associated carbon dioxide emissions are offset or balanced through various means, leading to a net-zero increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

Carbon Credits

Certificates/permits representing the reduction, removal, or avoidance of one ton of carbon dioxide or an equivalent amount of another greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. These credits are typically traded in carbon markets, allowing entities to offset emissions by supporting emissions-reducing projects elsewhere, such as reforestation projects, wetlands projects, agricultural projects, renewable energy, etc. There has been a push in recent years to qualify the quality of carbon offsets through regulation and third-party assessments.

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Related: Cap and Trade, Carbon Allowances, Carbon Broker, Carbon Budget, Vintage, Retirement

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)

The removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and oceans through various capture and storage methods.

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)

A not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts.

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Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gases (GHG), specifically carbon dioxide and methane, emitted into the atmosphere due to human activities, either by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, typically measured as tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

Carbon Intensity (CI)

Measures GHG emissions associated with producing, distributing, and consuming fuels.

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Carbon Markets

Trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Companies or individuals can use carbon markets to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon credits from entities that remove, avoid, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Carbon Neutral Crude/Oil

Crude oil that has its production, transport, and consumption processes offset or mitigated to result in net-zero emissions.

Carbon Neutral Liquefied Natural Gas

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), that has its production, transport, and consumption processes offset or mitigated to result in net-zero emissions.

Carbon Neutrality

Refers to achieving a state where the net amount of carbon dioxide (or other carbon compounds) emitted into the atmosphere is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed. This balance can be accomplished by reducing carbon emissions and/or increasing carbon removal, often through offsetting or sequestration.

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Carbon Offset

A carbon offset represents the reduction, removal, or avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions, measured in tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), from a sector/region not subject to an emissions cap.

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Carbon Offsets

is a broader term that includes any activity or mechanism compensating for carbon dioxide emission or other greenhouse gases. This could be through funding renewable energy projects, reforestation, or other emissions-reducing activities. Individuals, companies, or governments can buy carbon offsets, often voluntarily, to reduce their carbon footprint.

Carbon Removal Technologies

Also known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are systems designed to remove and store carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere or point sources like power plants and industrial processes.

Carbon Sequestration/Storage (CSS)

The capturing and storing of atmospheric carbon dioxide through natural or industrial means. There are two main types of carbon sequestration: geologic and biologic (also called biosequestration).

Related: Geologic, Biologic

Certified Emission Reduction Credits (CERs)

A form of tradable units issued under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations, CERs represent the reduction or removal of one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. They are generated from emission reduction projects in developing countries, such as renewable energy installations, energy efficiency improvements, methane capture from landfills or agriculture, and afforestation or reforestation activities. Each project undergoes a rigorous validation and verification process to ensure that the emission reductions achieved are real, additional, and measurable.

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Credits and Deficits

Fuel with lower-carbon intensity than the standard generates “credits.” Fuel with higher-carbon intensity than the standard generates “deficits.” providers can trade these credits and deficits. For example, a provider with too many deficits can buy credits from a provider with a surplus.


Direct Air Capture (DAC)

A form of carbon capture and storage technology capable of directly extracting CO2 from the atmosphere for recycling or storage purposes. The captured CO2 can be used in food processing or combined with hydrogen to produce synthetic fuels (as examples). DAC also typically produces very high-quality carbon credits when used in carbon credit/offset schemes.

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EPA SmartWay

Launched in 2004, EPA SmartWay is a voluntary program led by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that focuses on reducing environmental impacts and improving freight supply chain efficiency broadly. The program provides resources, tools, and recognition to freight carriers, shippers, and logistics companies to help them measure, track, and improve their energy efficiency and environmental performance.

SmartWay Features:

  • provides a comprehensive and well-recognized system for tracking, documenting, and sharing information about fuel use and freight emissions across supply chains
  • helps companies identify and select more efficient freight carriers, transport modes, equipment, and operational strategies to improve supply chain sustainability and lower costs from goods movement
  • supports global energy security and offsets environmental risk for companies and countries
  • reduces freight transportation-related emissions by accelerating the use of advanced fuel-saving technologies
  • is supported by major transportation industry associations, environmental groups, state and local governments, international agencies, and the corporate community

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Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG)

A framework to evaluate an organization’s business practices and performance in three main categories Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. The objective of ESG is to encompass all the non-economic risks and potentialities that naturally arise from a company’s daily operations.

  • Environmental: A corporation’s direct and indirect influences on the natural world. These influences may encompass greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), pollution, waste management, utilization of renewable energy, and depletion of natural resources.
  • Social: The effects a corporation has on the society in which it operates, covering its relationships with employees, customers, and local communities. Social factors involve diversity, fairness and inclusivity, human rights, and animal welfare considerations.
  • Governance: Organizations such as SASB and Global Reporting Initiative work directly with companies, organizations, and governments to set standards for ESGs.

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(NOTE: Global uses both Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), independent frameworks for ESG/CSR reporting as well as the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and trade group-supported frameworks such as the Energy Infrastructure Council (EIC ») and Fuels Institute work (now the Transportation Energy Institute »).)


A renewable fuel made from corn and other plant materials, collectively known as “biomass.” Ethanol is considered an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Ethanol adoption is widespread, with more than 98% of gasoline in the U.S. containing some ethanol. The most common ethanol blend is E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline).

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Federal Trade Commission Green Guides

A series of guides designed to help marketers avoid making environmental claims that are unfair or deceptive in their marketing campaigns and materials. The Green Guides were first issued in 1992 and were revised in 1996, 1998, and 2012.

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The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy use in Transportation Model (GREET) is a tool created at the Argonne National Laboratory that examines the lifecycle impacts of vehicle technologies, fuels, products, and energy systems. It can be used to calculate total energy consumption (renewable and non-renewable) emissions and water consumption.

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Method of securing carbon dioxide (CO2) in deep geologic formations to prevent its release to the atmosphere and contribution to global warming as a greenhouse gas.

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Getting to Zero Coalition

A collaborative initiative founded by the Global Maritime Forum » to accelerate the decarbonizing of the maritime shipping industry. It is a partnership between leading stakeholders in the sector, including shipowners, ports, technology providers, and governments. The coalition’s primary goal is to accelerate the development and deployment of zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) in the global shipping industry.

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Global Disclosure System

A framework run by The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) » that assesses companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and their plans for reducing them. Companies have to answer an annual questionnaire about their emissions and actions taken to reduce them and are given reporting guidance from the CDP through the voluntary process.

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Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

An international organization that helps organizations understand and communicate their impact on issues such as climate change and human rights by providing a global common language to communicate those impacts.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Categories

  • Scope 1 »: An organization’s direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This typically includes emissions from on-site combustion of fossil fuels, such as emissions from company-owned vehicles (owned or leased), manufacturing processes, facilities, activities, or onsite power generation.
  • Scope 2 »: Indirect GHG emissions associated with electricity, steam, heat, or cooling purchased or acquired by the reporting company. These emissions occur due to the generation of the purchased energy by another entity, such as a utility company. (i.e.) It includes emissions from generating electricity that a company consumes. Scope 2 represents one of the largest sources of GHG emissions globally.
  • Scope 3 »: Refers to indirect greenhouse gas emissions that occur in the value/supply chain or due to an organization’s activities but are not owned or controlled by the organization.  These are all emissions not covered by scopes 1 and 2 but emissions that occur from the extraction and production of materials and goods used by the organization. Examples may include emissions from business travel, employee commuting, outsourced activities, and the entire lifecycle of a product.

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Greenhouse Gas Protocol

GHG Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains, and mitigation actions. These protocols are used by countries, cities, companies, and organizations to develop and measure their sustainability efforts.

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Greenhouse Gas Standards

  • Corporate Standard: Provides requirements and guidance for companies and other organizations, such as NGOs, government agencies, and universities, that are preparing a corporate-level GHG emissions inventory.
  • GHG Protocol for Cities: Provides a robust framework for accounting and reporting city-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Mitigation Goal Standard: Provides guidance for designing national and subnational mitigation goals and a standardized approach for assessing and reporting progress toward goal achievement.
  • Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard: Allows companies to assess their entire value chain emissions impact and identify where to focus reduction activities.
  • Policy and Action Standard: Provides a standardized approach for estimating the greenhouse gas effect of policies and actions.
  • Product Standard: Can be used to understand the full life cycle emissions of a product and focus efforts on the greatest GHG reduction opportunities. This is the first step towards more sustainable products. 
  • Project Protocol: The most comprehensive, policy-neutral accounting tool for quantifying the greenhouse gas benefits of climate change mitigation projects.

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Hard-to-Abate Industries

Industries with sectors or activities where it’s particularly difficult to reduce (or “abate”) greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). These sectors often have few, if any, technologically feasible, scalable, and economically viable alternatives to their current high-carbon processes. Examples typically include steel and cement production, deep-sea shipping, road freight, petrochemicals, etc.


A clean fuel that can be produced from a variety of domestic resources and, when consumed in a fuel cell, only produces water, making it a clean energy source and an attractive option for transportation and electricity generation applications. Hydrogen can be produced from domestic resources such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can store, move, and deliver other types of energy. It is not yet widely used as a fuel source as it takes more energy to separate hydrogen from other elements than it produces, but technology and investment are advancing that may change that.

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations. Its job is to advance scientific knowledge about climate change caused by human activities. The World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program established the IPCC in 1988.

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Related: The IPCC Report, Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement


Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol preceded the Paris Agreement. It was adopted in 1997 and came into force in 2005. It set binding GHG emissions reduction targets for a group of industrialized countries. The protocol was negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It sets binding targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions of six key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

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Low Carbon Intensity Gasoline

Fuel specifically designed and produced through a life cycle that emits less carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) compared to traditional gasoline. The life cycle includes extraction, production, distribution, and final use.

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Low Carbon Intensity RESID

Residual fuel oil or residual product with low carbon intensity, typically derived from crude oil refining processes. Great for industry, power generation, or marine vessels.

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Low Carbon/Renewable NAPTHA

Naphtha is a component of gasoline that can be produced as a by-product from the production of gasoline, diesel fuel, and renewable diesel.

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MSCI ESG Ratings and Climate Search Tool

Developed by MSCI, an investment research firm that provides indexes, portfolio risk and performance analytics, and governance tools to institutional investors and hedge funds, the MSCI ESG Ratings and Climate Search Tool measures a company’s management of financially relevant ESG risks and opportunities. ESG Ratings range from leader (AAA, AA), average (A, BBB, BB) to laggard (B, CCC).

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Net Zero

Is a state of balance that means consuming only as much energy as is produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills.

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Oregon Clean Fuels Program (CFP)

A state-based initiative established by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. The program encourages reductions in carbon intensity by allowing fuel providers to sell credits they have earned by going beyond reduction goals for that year. Those excess credits can be saved to offset future deficits the entity may incur or for future sales as demand increases.

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Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, adopted by 196 Parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2015 and came into effect on November 4, 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. Countries also communicate in their NDCs actions they will take to build resilience to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • Long-Term Strategies: To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the Paris Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).
  • Long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS): are the long-term horizon of the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory. Nevertheless, they place the NDCs into the context of countries’ long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.

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Quebec Clean Fuels Program

Gasoline and diesel fuels distributed in Québec will require the incorporation of clean fuels to reduce greenhouse gases and other air contaminants from fossil fuel use in cars and trucks. Québec will require 10% low-carbon fuel content in gasoline in 2023 and increase this to 15% by 2030. Low-carbon fuel content in diesel will begin at 3% in 2023 and increase to 10% by 2030.

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RECS Energy Certificate Association (RECS)

A renewable energy certificate, or REC, is a market-based instrument representing the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation.

  • RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the grid from a renewable energy resource.
  • REC Arbitrage: is a green power procurement strategy used by electricity consumers to simultaneously meet two objectives: 1) decrease the cost of their renewable electricity use and 2) substantiate renewable electricity use and carbon footprint reduction claims.

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A framework created by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) to guide forest sector activities that reduce deforestation and forest emissions. Degradation, the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

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Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

RGGI is the first mandatory cap-and-trade program in the United States that limits carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector. Compliance refers to the requirement for power plants in participating states to adhere to the initiative’s regulations, specifically concerning carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Under RGGI, a regional cap is set on the total amount of CO2 that power plants can emit. This cap reduces over time, encouraging cleaner and more efficient power generation. Each state sells emission allowances through auctions, and the proceeds are invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other consumer benefit programs.

  • The RGGI participating states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.
  • Compliance is evaluated at the end of each three-year control period. Starting in the third control period, the RGGI states have also conducted interim control period compliance, which requires each CO2 budget source to hold allowances equal to 50 percent of their emissions during each interim control period (the first two calendar years of each three-year control period).

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Registries / Standards Bodies

Organizations that set and uphold standards for a specific industry or field. In the context of carbon markets, these bodies oversee the standards for issuing, verifying, and trading carbon credits.

Renewable Diesel

Developed from waste or renewable feedstocks, including agricultural products, fats, or oils, renewable diesel is a chemically equivalent fuel to petroleum diesel, but produces far fewer carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. On average, its carbon intensity is 65 percent less than traditional petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel can be used as a drop-in replacement fuel or blended with any amount of petroleum diesel without the need for infrastructure or engine modifications. Nearly all domestically produced and imported renewable diesel is used in California due to economic benefits under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

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Renewable Electricity

Energy derived from natural resources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed. Examples included Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Hydropower, Tidal and Wave Energy, Geothermal Energy, and more. Clean generation is currently responsible for approximately 40% of the nation’s electricity supply.

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Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)

Established in 2005 by congress, the RFS is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts yearly, escalating to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Each renewable fuel category in the RFS program must emit lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) relative to the petroleum fuel it replaces. The RFS is set to be updated in June of 2023 for the years 2023-2025.

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Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)

Pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and thus can be used in natural gas vehicles. RNG is essentially biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter) that has been processed to purity standards. RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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A carbon credit that, when purchased, is taken off the carbon market forever.


Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

A standards-setting organization that develops industry-specific standards for disclosing sustainability risks and opportunities. SASB helps companies and organizations around the world identify, measure, and manage the subset of ESG topics that most directly impact long-term enterprise value.

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Sustainability-as-a-Service (SaaS)

A service model whereby Global Partners provides customers with sustainability-focused services, including but not limited to: ESG audits, compliance reviews, grant writing, custom environmental risk analyses, bespoke energy, and carbon capture and storage solutions, etc.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

A type of biofuel designed for use in aircraft that is produced from sustainable, renewable feedstocks and results in a lower carbon footprint than conventional, fossil-based jet fuel.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

A collection of seventeen global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for 2030. Goals include broad global priorities such as No Poverty, Climate Action, and Affordable and Clean Energy, among others.

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Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Established in 2015 by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the TCFD outlines a set of voluntary, consistent disclosure recommendations for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders about their climate-related financial risks.

The TCFD Recommendations focus on four thematic areas representing core elements of how organizations operate:

  • Governance: Disclose the organization’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities.
  • Strategy: Disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning where such information is material.
  • Risk Management: Disclose how the organization identifies, assesses, and manages climate-related risks.
  • Metrics and Targets: Disclose the metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities where such information is material.

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The Gold Standard Foundation

Established in 2003 by the WWF and other international NGOs. The Gold Standard Foundation is a non-profit organization that sets standards for climate and sustainable development interventions to maximize their impact. They provide certification for projects that reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable development.

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The IPCC Report

IPCC reports provide detailed scientific reviews of the state of knowledge about climate change, its widespread impacts and risks, and ways of mitigating and adapting to climate change. The regular reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages to help guarantee objectivity and transparency. These comprehensive scientific assessment reports are published every 6 to 7 years; the most recent report is the Sixth Assessment Report » published in phases from 2021 – 2023. It outlines the dire need to address climate change now and the role human activities are causing in exacerbating it, and potential ways to change the current trajectory.

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The Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program

Provides several credit generation opportunities to incentivize low-carbon fuel production and use; examples include fuel pathways, project-based crediting, and zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure (capacity-based) crediting.

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The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

A collaborative effort between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi provides a framework and methodology for companies to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets in line with the latest climate science.

  • The main objective of the SBTi is to help companies align their emission reduction goals with the level of decarbonization required to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as stated in the Paris Agreement.
  • Companies that commit to the SBTi are required to set science-based targets (SBTs) that are consistent with the level of decarbonization necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • By adopting science-based targets and participating in the SBTi, companies can enhance their credibility, demonstrate climate leadership, and contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change.

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In carbon markets, vintage refers to the year a carbon credit was issued.

Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI)

Aims to ensure carbon offsets are underpinned by real actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help developing countries access climate finance generated by the market.

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Voluntary Carbon Offset Market

Outside of regulatory constraints, the voluntary carbon offset market allows carbon emitters to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits from projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Trading on this market is voluntary and includes a wide range of programs, entities, standards, and protocols.

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Voluntary Carbon Offsets (VCO)

Carbon credits purchased voluntarily by individuals, organizations, or businesses to neutralize or offset their carbon emissions. These offsets are typically used to fund projects that reduce, avoid, or sequester greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).


Washington Clean Fuel Standard

Washington has implemented a Clean Fuel Standard to decrease the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. Through the Washington CFS, fuel suppliers are required to gradually reduce carbon intensity through measures like improving fuel production efficiency, using low-carbon biofuels, and purchasing credits from low-carbon fuel providers.

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The comprehensive evaluation of emissions associated with the entire lifecycle of a fuel, from the extraction or production stage (well) to its use in engines (wake). The well-to-wake analysis considers the emissions associated with fuel production, processing, distribution, and combustion, providing a holistic understanding of the environmental impact of different fuel options, informing decision-making by considering the overall carbon footprint of fuels, and supporting efforts to identify and promote low-carbon alternatives.

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Wheel-To-Wheel Emissions Factor

The overarching term encompassing the Tank-to-Wheel and Well-to-Tank concepts, providing a full view of the energy chain of a fuel from origin to utilization.

  • Well-to-Wheel Emissions Factor: Assess the GHGs generated throughout a fuel’s entire lifecycle.
  • Tank-to-Wheel Emissions Factor: A subset of Well-to-Wheel, essentially, TTW encapsulates the consumption of fuel by the vehicle and the emissions produced during its operation.

What’s the difference? Tank-to-Wheel describes the use of fuel in the vehicle and emissions during operation. In contrast, the term Well-to-Tank describes the emissions from the production of the energy source (petrol, diesel, electricity, natural gas) to fuel supply and during operation.

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World Resources Institute (WRI)

A global research organization established in 1982 that operates in over 50 countries. WRI’s work spans six critical issues at the intersection of environment and development: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transport.

WRI uses a multidisciplinary approach to analyze issues and propose policy solutions. It collaborates with various stakeholders, including governments, private enterprises, and civil society groups, to create and implement sustainable policies.

  • WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

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