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Active travel: Making journeys by physically active means, like walking or cycling.

Agroforestry: The interaction of agriculture and trees, including the agricultural use of trees.

Anaerobic Digestion: A process through which bacteria break down organic matter, such as food or manure, without oxygen.

Anchor Institutions: Organisations like hospitals, local councils, and universities who are often the biggest spenders and employers in a region. They are unlikely to relocate, given their connection to the local population. 

Biodegradable: Something that breaks down or decays naturally without any special scientific treatment and can therefore be thrown away without causing pollution.

Biodiversity: An area with a high biodiversity has a wide range of different types of plants and animals. 

Biomass: 1) The total quantity of plants and animals in an area. 2) In the context of energy, it’s using natural material, such as wood or food wastes, to burn them to create heat or digest them to create biomethane and a rich fertiliser. 

Biomethane: Naturally occurring gas which is produced by the breakdown of organic matter such as dead plant material and manure. 

Blue Carbon: Carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems.

Building Passport: A record of the physical qualities and materials of a building through its lifecycle to make its component materials easier to reuse and recycle at the end of the building’s life.

Carbon Budget: The total amount of carbon dioxide emissions permitted over a period of time to keep within a certain temperature threshold. Other greenhouse gases are included by converting them to an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. 

Carbon Capture and Storage: The process of trapping carbon dioxide produced by burning fuels or other chemical or biological process and storing it in such a way that it is unable to affect the atmosphere.

Carbon Footprint: A measure of the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by an individual’s, an organisation’s or a geography’s activities over a particular period.

Carbon Neutral: Having an equal balance between the amount of carbon emitted to the atmosphere by an activity and the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by a natural carbon store, such as a woodland, or a technological process such as carbon capture and storage.

Carbon Offset: An action intended to compensate for the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, such as tree planting.

Carbon Sequestration: The long-term storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere naturally in plants, soils and the ocean, or capturing it with technology and permanently storing it underground. 

Carbon Sink: Habitats that absorb more carbon than they release. 

Carbon Storage: See carbon sequestration. 

Circular Economy: A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use (reusing and recycling) and regenerating natural systems. 

Coastal Squeeze: A loss of coastal habitats which arises due to rising sea levels and a fixed landward boundary, such as a coastal defence or a highway. 

Community Wealth Building: A people-centred approach to local economic development. It aims to prevent wealth flowing out of communities, towns and cities and to redirect wealth back into the local economy to the empowerment and benefit of local people and places. It often focuses on increasing the impact of the procurement of “anchor institutions” such as the NHS and councils. It is also known as the Cleveland Model due to the origin of the approach in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Consumption Emissions: Emissions calculated on a consumption basis include the emissions associated with the production and transport of the goods and services that a population consume from outside their own area. Therefore consumption emissions associated with Devon’s citizens’ day-to-day lives include those that are emitted overseas as well as those produced in Devon. 

Cleveland Model: see Community Wealth Building

Decarbonisation: The reduction or removal of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to achieve zero emissions.

Devon: This refers to the geographical county of Devon which includes the area administered by Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council and Devon County Council.

Digestate: The material remaining after the breakdown of feedstock in anaerobic digestion.

Electrification: The process of powering by electricity. 

Electrolysis: A technique that uses direct electric current to drive a chemical reaction. Electrolysis of water produces hydrogen and oxygen.  

Embodied Carbon: The total greenhouse gas emissions generated to produce an item. 

Energy Recovery Facilities: A waste treatment facility that uses non-hazardous residual waste as fuel to generate energy.

Eutrophication: When a body of water becomes overly enriched with minerals and nutrients which causes excessive growth of algae. 

Fossil Fuels: A natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.

Fugitive Gases: Emissions due to leaks and other unintended or irregular releases of greenhouse gases.

Gift Economy: Economic activity characterised by offering services and goods to other members of the community without the expectation of monetary reward.

Global Warming Potential: A measure of the total energy that a gas absorbs and contributes to global warming over a particular period, compared to the same mass of carbon dioxide.

Greenhouse Effect: A process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat, warming the Earth’s surface. 

Greenhouse Gas: An atmospheric gas that traps heat by letting sunlight pass through the atmosphere but prevents heat from leaving the atmosphere.

Green Growth: Economic growth and development that uses natural resources in a truly sustainable manner.

Gross Value Added (GVA): A value for the amount of goods and services that have been produced in an area, minus the cost of all inputs and raw materials that are directly attributable to that production. 

Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC): A greenhouse gas commonly used as an aerosol propellant or refrigerant. 

Hybrid Heating System: A heating system that combines a traditional gas or oil boiler with a renewable heating system such as a heat pump.

Landscape Character Assessment (LCA): The process of identifying and describing variation in character of the landscape. 

Methane: A strong greenhouse gas that is emitted from the production of coal, natural gas and oil, livestock and agricultural practices and from waste landfills.

Maerl Beds: Purple-pink hard seaweed that forms spiky underwater ‘carpets’ on the seabed and can capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Mini-public: Institutions in which a diverse group of citizens are selected randomly to discuss and advise on an issue of public concern.

Mitigation: Actions to limit the magnitude or rate of global warming and its related effects.

Municipal Bond: A bond issued by a local government, generally used to finance public projects such as roads, schools, airports and seaports, and infrastructure-related repairs.

Natural Capital: All parts of nature that we rely on because it produces value or provides benefits to people; this might be direct such as the food we eat or indirect like the regulation of our climate.

Net-zero: Having an equal balance between the amount of carbon emitted to the atmosphere by an activity and the amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by a natural carbon store, such as a woodland, or a technological process such as carbon capture and storage.

Ocean Acidification: When oceans become more acidic due to the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This negatively affects marine life as it causes shells and skeletons to dissolve.

Perfluorocarbon (PFC): A greenhouse gas produced during the production of aluminium and semiconductors and in some medical procedures.

Photovoltaics: The conversion of sunlight into electricity using semiconducting materials. 

Planetary Boundaries: Scientifically based limits on how much the Earth can be disturbed without sending the Earth into a new, unsafe state. 

Planned Obsolescence: The calculated act of making sure the existing version of a product will become dated or useless within a given time frame.

Power Purchase Agreement: A contract between two parties, one which generates electricity and one which is looking to purchase electricity.

Relocalisation: A strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, local governance and culture.

Renewable Energy: Energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. 

Residual Waste: Non-hazardous waste material that cannot be re-used, composted or recycled.

Retrofit: The introduction of new materials and technologies into an existing building to reduce the energy needed to occupy that building.

Self-financing: A project that can generate enough income to pay for itself.

Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6): An extremely potent greenhouse gas mainly used as an electrical insulator.

Smart Energy Systems: A system in which patterns of renewable energy production, distribution and storage are matched to demand by changing people’s behaviour through payments and tariffs to encourage energy use at certain times of day or night. 

Sustainable Consumption and Production: The use and production of goods and services, whilst keeping their impact on the environment low. 

Sustainable Procurement: A process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, work and utilities, whilst keeping their impact on the environment low.

Synthetic Fuels: A manufactured fuel that can be used in existing vehicles. Carbon-neutral synthetic fuels can be manufactured in various ways. The most common method is to use carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide from the atmosphere (or an industrial process) and combine it with hydrogen created via electrolysis powered by renewable energy. 

Territorial Emissions: Emissions taking place within a defined geographical boundary, for example within Devon. Sometimes referred to as production emissions. They are a sub-set of ‘Consumption Emissions’. 

The County: This refers to the geographical county of Devon which includes the area administered by Plymouth City Council, Torbay Council and Devon County Council.

Zero-carbon: When no carbon emissions are being produced from a product or service. 

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