Ministry for the Environment logoLink here to the New Zealand Government glossary of Climate Change terms.



small grey square150x80Additional terms not in the NZ Government glossary.

Source: Turnaround Time by Sean Millar and Adrienne Puckey – with added comments in italics

    • Biogenic emissions: naturally occurring emissions (not caused by human activity) eg from volcanoes, geysers and other thermal activities.
    • Biogas: methane produced by fermentation of organic matter. This can be recovered from landfills and sewage.
    • Embedded or Embodied Energy: the amount of energy used to produce an item and to transport it to its point of sale, including all its component parts and an allocation of the energy components of plant and equipment used in its manufacture.
    • EROI: energy return on energy invested. For instance, using conventional oil, the energy embodied in petrol might be 10 or more times the energy required to extract, process and transport it. (comment: for historical extraction but this figure declines as Peak Oil is reached and passed). On the other hand, petrol produced from corn ethanol can, in some circumstances, take more energy to produce than it contains. This return, therefore, is a valuable tool in measuring the viability of alternative energy sources.
    • Externalities: costs from an economic transaction that fall on parties external to the transaction.
    • Fracking: induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique for opening and widening fractures in rocks below the earth’s surface, along which fluids such as gas, petroleum, uranium-bearing solution, and brine water may migrate to the well. Typically water is mixed with sand and chemicals, and the mixture is injected at high pressure into a wellbore to create small fractures (typically less than 1mm), hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, then small grains of proppant (sand or aluminium oxide) hold these fractures open once the rock achieves equilibrium. (Source for this item and
    • Fractional Reserve Banking: an economic system for creating money using a banking system in which only a fraction of the total deposits managed by a bank must be kept in reserve ie. backed by actual cash on hand available for withdrawal. (See source for more.)
    • Scalability: the ability to increase output or effectiveness by a significant extent. This is an important test in evaluating energy alternatives. For instance, coal fired electricity generating capacity can be increased significantly to meet increasing global energy needs, but sugar ethanol cannot because sugarcane will grow only in a narrow range of climate conditions that cannot be expanded.
    • Timeliness: the ability to deliver a solution within a timeframe relevant to the issue being addressed. This is an important test in evaluating options for mitigating effects of climate change. (See Source for more.)