19 Jan

Climate terms explained

To get the new year off to a good start, we wanted to create a little lexicon on the topic of climate/sustainability to bring you a little closer to our corporate language.


1. CO2

CO2 (carbon dioxide) is the most critical greenhouse gas connected to the artificial greenhouse effect.

If there were no greenhouse gases, it would be too cold on earth for human life. However, human activities such as transport and industry increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increasing the temperature.


2. CO2 neutrality

CO2-neutral means that the current global CO2 balance is not changed, i.e. no greenhouse gas is added. It states that using fuel or even a human activity (e.g. a flight or an event) does not influence the atmosphere's carbon dioxide concentration. Therefore, it is not harmful to the climate.


3. CO2 compensation

CO2 emissions cannot be prevented entirely, but emissions caused can be saved elsewhere. By supporting climate protection projects, you can avoid CO2 emissions to the extent caused. This process is called CO2 compensation.


4. Climate neutral

The term means that, for example, the manufacture of a product does not increase the number of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate neutrality can be achieved if CO₂ emissions are reduced to a minimum, and any remaining CO₂ emissions are offset with climate protection measures. If climate-damaging greenhouse gases are avoided entirely or if gases already emitted are saved elsewhere, this is called "climate neutral".


5. Sustainable

If something is described as sustainable, there is a conscious use of resources and the environment so that the system can continue to exist. Since there are numerous definitions, the word is often used as a PR attribute that is difficult to verify.


6. ecological footprint

The ecological footprint describes how much "biocapacity" (air, soil, water, etc.) is required for one human being. The footprint is a complex sustainability indicator that describes how much land a person needs to meet their resource requirements. Criteria include the origin and type of food consumed, means of transport used and production conditions of consumer goods.


7. solar water disinfection

A water disinfection process based on UV-A radiation in sunlight. WHO recommends SODIS as an effective water treatment method at the household level. SODIS is being used in an increasing number of households in many developing countries.


8. Voluntary carbon offsetting

Voluntary offsetting involves first calculating the amount of remaining climate-impacting emissions from a particular activity, for example, an air, rail or car journey, the consumption of gas, electricity or heating energy, or the manufacture of a specific product. Offsetting is done through emission reduction credits (usually called certificates), which are used to offset the same number of emissions in climate protection projects.


9. emissions trading

Emissions trading was introduced as an essential instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is intended to provide an incentive for business enterprises to produce in a more climate-friendly manner. Private households are also encouraged to do more to protect the climate.

If a company wants to deposit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it must own the right to do so. These "emission rights" are distributed in the form of certificates. For every tonne of carbon dioxide allowed, there is one certificate. The instrument of climate protection policy provides that each industrialised country receives a fixed amount of emission rights. If not all of them are used up, they can be sold to governments and companies that produce more gases on the global market. The criticism is that those who can buy their way out have little incentive to invest in a low-carbon future.


10. Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect describes the effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It causes higher temperatures on earth. Distinguishing happens between the natural and the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.

If the earth warms up without human influence, one speaks of the natural greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are present in the environment even without humans. They ensure that the planet warms up, making it possible for us to live here. The anthropogenic greenhouse effect is the artificial greenhouse effect. It is also called the artificial greenhouse effect. We, humans, produce a lot of greenhouse gases, for example, by driving cars, running factories or keeping farm animals. This causes the earth to heat up even more.