Everything you need to know about carbon and greenhouse gases

What is CO2? 

Gases that contribute to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere are known as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and various other natural and synthetic gases. The amount of heat a greenhouse gas can trap in the atmosphere is measured by their global-warming potential (GWP). All greenhouse gases have different GWPs, and higher the GWP value, the more it contributes to climate change. 

A carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2 equivalent (CO2e) is a way to measure emissions from all these greenhouse gases into a single measure by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. These are expressed in tonnes or kilograms of CO2e

(tCO2e or kgCO2e). 


What is carbon net reduction?  

Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between baseline and assessment year calculated as part of the ecoBiz annual assessment is known as carbon net reduction. Positive net reduction corresponds to a reduction in emissions and a negative corresponds to an increase in emissions. 


What is carbon neutral?  

Balance between emitting greenhouse gases and absorbing/removing GHGs (greenhouse gases) from the atmosphere is described as being carbon neutral. Emissions can be produced, as long as they are offset. Therefore, it's important to measure and reduce emissions as much as possible before purchasing carbon offsets.


What is carbon positive? 

When a business offsets more than it emits or puts measures to remove more greenhouse gases from atmosphere than it emits, it becomes carbon positive.  


What is net zero and what are government targets for net zero? 

Net Zero means achieving balance between the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere and their removal from the atmosphere. Emission can be produced as long as they are offset. 

Queensland Climate Action Plan - The Queensland Government has set bold but achievable targets for action on Climate Change under the Queensland Climate Action Plan (QCAP), aiming to deliver 

  • 50% renewable energy target by 2030 
  • 30% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 
  • Zero net emissions by 2050 

What are avoided carbon emissions?  

Avoided emissions are a representation of the business’s efforts in reducing their emissions, compared to a business-as-usual scenarioA positive avoided carbon emissions figure means a business emitted less GHG (greenhouse gases) per business output than either their baseline or their previous assessment (as part of the ecoBiz program). A negative avoided carbon emissions figure means they have emitted more GHG per business output than either their baseline or their previous assessment.

It takes into account how total business output (measured by productivity unit) changes in different years. This model is an approximation and actual avoided emissions may differ from the modelled avoided emissions for a range of reasons, e.g. changes in behaviour, and the proportion of emissions that would occur regardless of the business output variations (i.e. related to fixed costs) etc.

Contact the team for more information or your participation in the ecoBiz program.

Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.