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Climate Glossary

Adaptation: An adjustment by nature or a community that reduces the hazardous effects of climate change 

Biodiesel: A form of diesel fuel derived from plants or animals

Biofuel: Fuel that is derived from biomass such as plant or algae material, wood, or animal waste

Biomass: Generally in this report, we refer to biomass in relation to wood biomass which is any timber-de- rived product (softwood or hardwood) capable of being converted to energy through direct combustion or gasification; to solid fuel through pelletizing; or to liquid fuel through myriad processes. Biomass can also be renewable organic material that comes from plants and animals.

Blue Carbon: Carbon that is buried or sequestered away from the atmosphere by coastal ecosystems like salt marshes, seaweeds, and seagrass beds

Carbon Neutral: Emissions are balanced by the uptake of carbon dioxide by forests and other ecosystems

Clean Energy: The production of electricity or heat from renewable or low-carbon resources such as solar, wind, water, biomass, or geothermal. Energy-efficiency measures that improve the output of or reduce energy consumption, and innovative grid technologies such as energy storage, may also be included in the broad defi- nition of clean energy.

CHP: Combined heat and power

Climate: The average weather conditions at a given place over a period of time. For example, meteorologists often make comparisons against a 30-year period, called a climate normal.

Climate Change: A difference in the climate over multiple decades or longer. Long-term changes/shifts in climate can result from both natural and human factors.

DEP: Maine Department of Environmental Protection

DER: Distributed energy resource. Small-scale resources that produce and supply electricity, or controlla- ble loads, that are connected to a local distribution system or installed at a host facility, and may be spread out over a wide area. These resources either provide energy to the electrical grid or allow for greater control of demand for electricity, and are located at various geographic locations across the grid system, sometimes “behind the meter.”

EEE: Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but dangerous infection spread by mosquitoes

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency

EVs: Electric Vehicles

Fossil Fuels: A hydrocarbon fuel (such as coal, oil, or natural gas) formed in the earth from plant or animal remains over millions of years

GEO: Governor’s Energy Office

GDP: Gross domestic product, a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period 

GHG: Greenhouse gases are gases that absorb/act as a blanket, trapping heat in the atmosphere, including but not limited to water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone

GOPIF: Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future

(Climate) Mitigation: A human intervention intended to reduce the rate of climate change by limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases or by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through natural or technological processes

(Hazard) Mitigation: Any sustained action taken intended to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from natural hazards

HFC: Hydrofluorocarbons, which are greenhouse gases with global-warming potentials of hundreds to thou- sands of times that of carbon dioxide

HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning

HPEV: Hybrid plug-in vehicle

IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

MPUC: Maine Public Utilities Commission

Particulate Matter: Also known as particle pollution or PM, a complex mixture of extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air, which can pose a danger to human and animal health

PHEV: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Resilience: The ability of a community, business, or the natural environment to prepare for, withstand, respond to, and recover from a hazardous event

RGGI: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

RFS: Renewable Fuel Standards

RPS: Renewable Portfolio Standard

Sequestration or Carbon Sequestration: The process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmo- sphere or industrial processes and storing it for years to centuries, sometimes referred to as “negative emis- sions.” Carbon may be stored in biomass (such as trees, branches, wood products, foliage, and roots), soils, and rocks for varying periods of time, or reused in industrial applications. Research and technological develop- ment into direct air capture of carbon dioxide for storage or reuse is ongoing but not yet developed at a large scale.

STS: Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

Weather: Atmospheric conditions at any given time or place, measured from variables such as wind, temperature, humidity, air pressure, cloudiness, and precipitation. Weather can vary from hour to hour, day to day, and week to week.