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Glossary of Commonly Used Terms in Climate Change for Agriculture

  • Climate change: Change in climate driven by an increase in global temperatures driven by emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. 
  • Agricultural gaseous emissions:  Refers to greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia emissions from farming
  • Greenhouse gases (GHG): The three agricultural GHGs are carbon dioxide, (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).  The main sources of GHG in Agriculture are animals (CH4, 64%) and fertiliser (N2O, 32%)
  • Ammonia: Ammonia (NH3) is an air pollutant having an impact on human health and biodiversity, mainly from storage and spreading of animal manures
  • Biogenic methane: Biogenic methane is methane produced predominantly from ruminants.
  • Nitrous oxide: Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent GHG, produced mainly through the application of chemical fertilisers, organic manures and excreta
  • Carbon dioxide: The most common GHG, predominantly from the burning of fossil fuels Carbon dioxide equivalents
  • (CO2 Eq.): All GHGs (CO2, CH4 and N2O) have different global warming potential (GWP).  The emissions of all gases are expressed as CO2  for reporting and comparison purposes
  • Carbon footprint: Refers to how much GHGs emitted from an activity. The production of every kg of milk or meat or grain has a carbon footprint
  • Total carbon emissions: Refers to the total emissions from an activity e.g. agriculture, milk production per farm
  • Mitigation actions: Actions that reduce emissions of GHG
  • Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC): The Teagasc GHG MACC sets out a roadmap for reducing GHG emissions, including the associated costs/benefits of actions
  • Nitrogen use efficiency (NUE): NUE measures how much N brought onto a farm (fertiliser, feed, animals) is exported in product from the farm
  • Carbon sequestration: This involves removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it securely for a long period, for example in our soils, our hedgerows and our trees

Download it as a PDF here: Glossary of Commonly Used Terms in Climate Change for Agriculture