Pure future
Adaptation to Climate Change

The process of adjusting to the current and future climate and its effects. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm and/or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustments to the projected climate and its effects. (IPCC, 2014).


In accordance with the Kyoto Protocol articles on Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), emission reduction units or associated carbon credits (ERUs & CERs) will only be issued for project activities where the emission reduction is additional to that which would otherwise occur.



Distribution of emission allowances among greenhouse gas emitting installations/sectors, allowing the establishment of a market for trading in emission allowances. The allocation of emission permits may be based on the use of historical data or benchmarking and may be distributed free of charge or through auctions. In the new ETS period, 2013-2020, the free allocation of allowances is gradually reduced.


Use of Kyoto protocol units (AAUs, CERs, ERUs) from the first commitment period in the subsequent commitment period (2013-2020).

Baseline and Baseline Scenario

The baseline is a projection of greenhouse gas emissions in a business-as-usual scenario, often referred to as the baseline or reference scenario, representing the expected emissions if emissions reduction activities were not implemented.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

The process of separating CO2 from industrial and energy sources and transporting the captured CO2 to a site for long-term storage and isolation from the atmosphere.

Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e)

Unit of measurement that expresses the amount of GHG in equivalent terms to the amount of carbon dioxide (a reference gas). Equivalence takes into account the global warming potential of the gases involved and calculates how much CO2 would be emitted if all GHGs were emitted as that gas.

Carbon Footprint

Quantification of Greenhouse Gas emissions, expressed in carbon dioxide equivalent, produced by an individual, an industry, a service company, an event, etc.

Carbon Leakage

Carbon Leakage in an installation refers to the transfer of production to countries with fewer legal restrictions, due to the costs associated with climate policies, leading to an increase in GHG emissions in the countries receiving the business. The Commission Decision 2014/746/EU of 27 October 2014 establishes, a list of sectors exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage, for the period 2015-2019.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Mechanism which allows the acquisition of carbon credits (CERs) through investment and promotion of projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gases in developing countries (non-Annex I countries).

Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines in its Article 1, Climate Change as "a change of climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the overall composition of the atmosphere beyond that of observed natural climate variability in comparison between time periods."

Conference of the Parties (COP)

The COP is the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose main objective is to establish the rules to implement the Convention. It usually takes place once a year, in rotation in different regions of the world.

Designated National Authority (DNA)

To host a CDM project, the host country must appoint a Designated National Authority (DNA), which issues the letter of approval (LoA) required for the project's registration with the United Nations.

Double counting

Double counting can occur in different contexts but represents the accounting of an emission/emission reduction twice. For example, CDM or JI Projects in installations covered by the EU ETS could lead to double counting of emission reductions, so the NAPs should contemplate this situation, namely through the definition of a JI set-aside.


In the case of Emission Inventories, double counting can occur if two installations have considered emissions from a certain activity as direct emissions from their operation.

Emission Allowances under the ETS (EUA)

Tradable units defined under the ETS. One EUA corresponds to one metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Emission Reduction Units (ERUs)

Units achieved through JI projects.

Emissions Offsetting

Acquisition of certified carbon credits in quantities equivalent to those emitted by the activity to be offset. The certified carbon credits belong to a selection of projects that guarantee an effective reduction of carbon from the atmosphere.

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)

First market instrument specifically designed by the European Community in the framework of climate change (independent of the Kyoto Protocol, but with the same purpose). The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was approved by Directive 2003/87/EC and provides for the trading of emission allowances within the European Community for operators of certain installations carrying out activities covered by the Directive.


With the publication of the new ETS Directive (2009/29/EC) the rules of the scheme have undergone significant changes. The first ETS compliance period covers 2005-2007 and the second covers 2008-2012, which coincides with the first Kyoto Protocol compliance period. The third period, currently in force, covers the years 2013 to 2020.

Focal Point

Contact person within the administration of a country that has signed the UNFCCC.

Global Warming

Increase in the temperature of the oceans and atmosphere resulting from the increased concentration of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere.

Global Warming Potential

Global Warming Potential (GWP) is the impact that greenhouse gases have on global warming.


CO2 is used as a reference, having a GWP of 1. As GWP changes with time, IPCC suggested a specific time interval of 100 years for comparisons.


The values set out in the IPCC 4th Report (AR 4), which are presented in the following table,

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) GWP:1

Methane (CH4) GWP: 25

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) GWP: 298

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) GWP: 124 - 14 800

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) GWP: 7 390 - 12 200

Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) GWP: 22 800

Green roofs

Also called green roofs, garden roofs or living roofs, these are multi-layered structures which cover the surface of a building with vegetation.

Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG)

The GHG Protocol establishes standards and guidelines for calculation and reporting for companies and other types of organisations undertaking their GHG emissions inventory.

Host Country

The country where the CDM or JI project is physically located, and which must approve the project to issue the associated CERs or ERUs.

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

These set out the intentions of each country adhering to the Paris Agreement in terms of emission reductions.

Portugal presented its INDC together with the other members of the European Union, which establishes a commitment to reduce GHG emissions by at least 40% in 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC results from a joint action of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988.


It emerged to provide technical, scientific and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the issue of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation. It is open to all Members of the United Nations and WMO (WWW.IPCC.CH).

ISO 14604: 2006 - Greenhouse Gases

The ISO 14064 standard is divided into three parts:


Part 1: Specification with guidance to organisations for the quantification and reporting of GHG emissions and removals.

Part 2: Specification with guidance at project level for quantifying, monitoring and reporting GHG emission reductions or enhanced removals.

Part 3: Specification with guidance for validation and verification of GHG statements.

Joint Implementation (JI)

Mechanism that allows the transaction of emission reduction units (ERUs) between Annex I countries (with Annex B commitment) through investment and promotion of projects, in such a way that the emission reduction units generated will be added to the investor country's allocation and subtracted from the recipient country's allocation.

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was agreed at COP-3 held in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. This instrument specifies GHG emission obligations for Annex B countries and defines three flexibility mechanisms that countries can use to meet their obligations: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and Emissions Trading.


Russia's ratification in 2004 allowed the Protocol to enter into force on 16 February 2005, making it binding on signatory states.

Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

The Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector was included in the Kyoto Protocol to account for certain anthropogenic activities that result in the variation of GHG quantities in the atmosphere.

Marrakech Accords

The Marrakech Accords, adopted in 2005 at the 1st Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP-1) in Montreal, Canada, allowed the Kyoto Protocol to become fully operational by establishing the formal aspects that the flexibility mechanism projects must comply with: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and Emissions Trading.

Meeting of the Parties

The MOP (Meeting of the Parties) is the supreme body of the Kyoto Protocol. The first MOP was held in December 2005 in Montreal, Canada, during COP-11.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

A MoU is a bilateral agreement between two parties that formally acknowledges a joint desire to jointly achieve objectives or ultimately conclude a certain agreement. It may or may not define sanctions depending on how it is constructed. MoUs between the investor country and the host country are often used as the basis for CDM and JI projects.

Methodologies Panel (Meth Panel)

The Methodologies Panel was established to develop recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding methodologies for determining baselines and monitoring plans, including guidelines for applying existing methodologies or commenting on new methodologies submitted.


Collection and organisation of all relevant data to determine the emission reductions of a project activity, including those necessary to determine the baseline, to measure the GHG emissions resulting from the project activity and to define leakage (where applicable).

National Adaption Programmes of Action (NAPAs)

These are programmes that provide least developed countries with a process to identify priority activities that address their urgent and immediate climate change adaptation needs. A database of NAPAs projects is available on the UNFCCC website.

National Allocation Plan (NAP)

Document drawn up at the level of each Member State which specifies the quantity of emission permits to be allocated (total and per installation) within the scope of the ETS, in a determined period.

National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs)

NAMAs refer to any actions aimed at reducing GHG emissions from developing countries that are developed under a national government initiative. NAMAs are supported and enabled by technology, financing, and capacity building.


Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)

Buildings characterized by very high energy performance, have near zero or very small energy needs, covered to a large extent by energy from renewable sources - Nearly zero energy buildings.

Net Zero Carbon Building

Buildings with a certified neutral carbon footprint (Zero Carbon Buildings). The certification can be carried out from the planning phase of the building or during the operation phase.


These are very energy efficient buildings, typically have renewable energy sources installed on site, and can ultimately support projects that reduce GHG emissions to ensure a neutral footprint.

Paris Agreement

Agreement adopted at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UNFCCC in Paris, approved by the 195 countries Party to the Framework Convention, which aims to establish new objectives in the fight against Climate Change. It was ratified by Portugal on 30 September 2016 and came into force on 4 November of the same year.

Portuguese Emissions Allowances Registry (RPLE-RU)

The Portuguese Emission Allowances Registry (RPLE) was created in 2005, in accordance with the provisions that ensured the accurate accounting of the granting, holding, transfer and cancellation of emission allowances at the national level.


Since January 2012, it has been integrated into the Union Registry, a consolidated registry where all Member State registries are housed, to ensure the possibility of unrestricted transfer of emission allowances between persons within the Community, as well as linking the Community scheme to emission allowance trading schemes in third countries and sub-federal and regional entities.

Reserve for new entrants

New entrants reserve, established in the third trading period of the EU ETS, to allow new installations or installations increasing their capacity to be allocated allowances free of charge.

Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality

Portugal's commitment to be neutral in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the end of 2050.


It is based on the sectoral components of energy, transport, waste and agriculture, forestry, and soil use - the main contributors to GHG emissions and carbon sequestration. These sectors will be supported by circular economy, societal engagement, and socio-economic scenarios


Carbon sinks refer to the removal of GHGs from the atmosphere through land management and forestry activities. This removal can thus be counted towards the total GHGs that each country can emit during the compliance period.


Development that seeks to meet our needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was agreed at the Rio Conference in 1992 and came into force in 1994. Its ultimate objective is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

Verified Emission Reductions (VERs)

VERs are emission reductions generated by small-scale projects that are assessed and verified by organizations rather than through the UNFCCC.


Vulnerability is the propensity or predisposition that a certain element or set of elements has to be negatively impacted. Vulnerability depends on the combination of factors such as exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (adapted from IPCC, 2014b).

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