Financial methods in environmental decisions
Financial methods in environmental decisions

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Financial methods in environmental decisions

Glossary

Cancer
The disease which results from the development of a malignant tumour and its spread into surrounding tissues.
Carbon dioxide
A heavy, colourless gas that does not support combustion. It dissolves in water to form carbonic acid. Carbon dioxide contributes about 60% of the potential global warming effect of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Although this gas is naturally emitted by living organisms, these emissions are offset by the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants during photosynthesis; they therefore tend to have no net effect on atmospheric concentrations. The burning of fossil fuels, however, releases carbon dioxide fixed by plants many millions of years ago, and thus increases its concentration in the atmosphere.
Consequences
The effects (or impacts) of a particular situation, action or event. Impacts may be positive (benefits) or negative (costs, or harms). Risk assessments usually focus on assessing the potential negative consequences (the harm) that may result from the realisation of identified hazards
Damage
A loss of inherent quality suffered by an entity.
Development
A process of economic and social transformation that is not easily defined. While often viewed as a strictly economic process involving growth and diversification of a country’s economy, development is a qualitative concept that entails complex social, cultural and environmental changes.
Directive
A European Union legal instrument identifying an outcome binding on all member states, but leaving the method of implementation to national governments through national legislation.
Emission
One or more substances released to the water, air or soil in the natural environment. Compare environmental release, pollution and environmental intervention.
Heavy metals
A collective term used for metals with the potential to cause harm when they are released into the environment. Typically it includes mercury, lead and cadmium, as well as zinc, chromium and certain other metals with wide industrial use and potential toxic effects.
Impact
See Consequences.
Particulate matter
Generally used for solid particles (dust) emitted from processes and dispersed in the atmosphere. The term can also include liquid droplets.
Recycling
Re-processing waste or scrap materials for the production of new goods or services on the same quality level. If the quality of the goods and services produced with recycled material is lower, then the process has been called downcycling. cf. Closed-loop recycling and Open-loop recycling.
Resources
Materials found in the environment that can be extracted from the environment in an economic process. There are abiotic resources (non-renewable) and biotic resources (renewable).
Scope
The agreed boundaries of a risk assessment and the risks to be assessed within those boundaries.
Shareholders
Any person or organisation that holds shares in a company.
System
A collection of operations that perform a desired function.
Valuation
The process of weighting characterised environmental interventions against each other in a quantitative and/or qualitative way. This process results in an environmental performance index.
Water
Water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O). Water, which covers three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, and accounts for over 60% of its mass, regenerates and redistributes through evaporation and other atmospheric processes. Water vapour absorbs about 17% of solar radiation in the troposphere, thus making it one of the two principal greenhouse gases. Of the solar energy absorbed by the Earth’s surface a little more than half goes into latent heat, which is heat absorbed by water because of its transformation from a liquid to a vapour. When these molecules condense back into a liquid, usually higher in the atmosphere, they release that energy back into the atmosphere as local warming.
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