Home » USB Carbon Toolbox » Introduction to Carbon » Defining Terms



The table below lists the terms that farmers may hear when evaluating or participating in carbon programs.

ADDITIONALITY A common carbon offset eligibility factor that only rewards project activities that go beyond business-as-usual. Carbon markets are structured to motivate new activities that would not result from common business practices and are not already mandated by regulation.
CARBON CREDIT The tradeable asset produced by a third-party verified project, representing a metric ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) that is reduced, avoided, or sequestered to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.
CARBON MARKET A market in which a supply of carbon credits is sold to companies that use them to meet their voluntary emissions goals or mandated GHG targets.
CARBON PROGRAM An initiative that develops a market to pay organizations (such as farmers) for offsetting carbon and carbon storage.
CARBON REGISTRY An organization that develops the rules and infrastructure for a carbon market, including the development of standards for emission reductions, requirements for verification, issuance of credits, and the tracking of credits from issuance to retirement.
CARBON SEQUESTRATION Long-term removal, capture, or storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, and physical processes.
COMET FARM Whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system.
COMET PLANNER Evaluation tool for initial planning purposes designed to provide generalized estimates of the greenhouse gas impacts of conservation practices.
CO2 EQUIVALENTS (CO2e) The number of metric tonnes of CO2 emissions with the same global warming potential as one metric tonne of another GHG, calculated using global warming potential factors
INSETS Investment by a company in emissions reduction projects in their supply chain
GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG) Gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
LEAKAGE Increases in emissions made by individuals not participating in a project. For example, protecting forests in one area may lead to logging elsewhere.
METRIC TON A unit of weight equal to 1,000 kilograms, or 2,205 pounds. This is the standard unit of measurement used when quantifying carbon emissions.
MMRV Measuring, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification
OFFSET Reduction, avoidance, or sequestration of one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or GHG equivalent.
PERMANENCE A common carbon offset eligibility criteria that ensures emissions reductions are enduring and have technical and/or contractual protections that ensure reductions or sequestration is not reversed over a meaningful period of time, thus preserving the climate benefits of the activity.
SOIL CARBON The solid carbon stored in soils. This includes both soil organic matter and inorganic carbon as carbonate minerals.