Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Definition: Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a way of comparing the climate impacts of different greenhouse gases, taking into account their lifetimes. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. A global warming potential is calculated over a specific time interval, commonly 20, 100 or 500 years. Global warming potential is expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide (whose global warming potential is standardized to 1). The global warming potential depends on three factors which are the absorption of infrared radiation by a given species, the spectral location of its absorbing wavelengths, and the atmospheric lifetime of the greenhouse gas.

Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Category: General Carbon Accounting Methodology Vocabulary

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Carbon Finance Lexicon

The text is derived from the Finance and Carbon Markets Lexicon prepared by the Forest Carbon, Markets and Communities (FCMC) Program and Tetra Tech ARD and reviewed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


  • Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation Methodology Vocabulary
  • Agriculture Land Management Methodology Vocabulary
  • Avoided Conversion of Grasslands and Shrublands Methodology Vocabulary
  • Carbon Pools Vocabulary
  • General Carbon Accounting Methodology Vocabulary
  • Improved Forest Management Methodology Vocabulary
  • Peat Rewetting and Conservation Methodology Vocabulary
  • Performance Vocabulary
  • Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation Methodology Vocabulary
  • Regulatory and Accounting Vocabulary
  • Risk Management Vocabulary
  • Valuation Vocabulary

  • Acronyms and Abbreviations


    Payments for Ecosystem Services
    Carbon finance

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