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Frequently Asked Questions

Specific Terms To This Toolkit

Baseline: A calculation of GHG emissions under a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario.

Base year: a specific year against which a business’s GHG emissions are tracked over time

GHG emissions in the base year

Carbon footprint: The total amount of carbon emissions (GHG emissions) released into the atmosphere as a result of activities from a business, organisation, community, household or individual.

CO2 equivalent (CO2-e): The global measurement unit of global warming potential (GWP), this includes each of the six greenhouse gases, expressed as the GWP (one unit of carbon dioxide)

Emissions: The release of GHG into the earth’s atmosphere

Emission factor: This is a factor that allows GHG emissions to be estimated from a unit of activity data (such as litres of fuel consumed, kWh of electricity used etc.)

Climate change mitigation: Steps that businesses, governments, communities and individuals can take to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases using new technologies, renewable energy, as well as rehabilitating ecosystems, improving the energy efficiency of old technology, and changing consumer and societal behaviour and practices (IPCC, 2014). For example, a business involved in agriculture production may choose to use renewable energy sources, such as solar power to power irrigation pumps thus, reducing the consumption of energy and consequently, fossil fuel production.

Greenhouse Gases (GHG): GHGs consist of six gases as listed in the Kyoto Protocol; carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

Climate finance: Funding that seeks to reduce carbon emissions, and to enhance carbon sinks, while also aiming to reduce vulnerability, through maintaining and increasing the resilience of human and ecological systems to negative climate change impacts (UNFCCC, 2014).

Kyoto Protocol: This is an international treaty, adopted in 1997, which commits its country members to reduce their GHG emissions.

Climate resilience: Climate resilience is the strengthening of the ability of both systems (human and non-human) to be able to cope with and respond to the changes in the earth’s climate. Climate resilience can be built through increasing adaptation and mitigation actions to both adapt to, and prevent the impacts of climate change.

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general Terms

Climate change impacts: Physical changes that occur as a result of future climate. As an example, a reduction in average rainfall into the future will lead to drier conditions. This will directly impact the way in which agriculture is conducted in affected areas (Tonmoy and Rissik, 2019).

Climate change risks: What a given climate change impact will pose to your business and its operations. For example, if your business is involved in producing agricultural output, increased dry conditions caused by less rainfall may increase the risk of crop losses (decreased output) or increase the cost of irrigation (increased production costs) leading to less profit (Tonmoy and Rissik, 2019).

Climate change adaptation: Steps that businesses, governments, communities, and individuals can take to deal with the risks that climate change impacts pose. For example, for the same agricultural business at risk of drought, this business can plant heat-resistant crops that can survive with low moisture content (Tonmoy and Rissick, 2019).

Relationship between climate change impacts, risks, and adaptation: Climate change is very likely to increase both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as flooding, heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, cyclones and extreme rainfall, to name a few. These changes will have different impacts for the various sectors within which small businesses operate (e.g. energy, agriculture, construction and trade, tourism, food and beverage, retail and hospitality etc.). For businesses at the individual scale, these impacts will be contextualised differently as climate impacts pose business specific risks. These risks are based on factors such as:

  • how exposed is a business to extreme climate events,
  • what the likely consequences are for businesses is a potential risk is realised,
  • how capable and equipped the business is to deal with risks (for some businesses, climate change will pose new risks, but for others, climate change may also provide new opportunities too).

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