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Old Friday, August 08, 2008
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Default A To Z (I R)

  • A
  • Accelerated Reduction/Elimination of Toxics (ARET): A departmental voluntary program to reduce toxic pollutant releases by industries.
  • Approved Reference Levels: The amount of resources approved by Treasury Board to carry out approved policies and programs.
  • B
  • Bioaccumulation: General term describing a process by which chemical substances are ingested and retained by organisms, either from the environment directly or through consumption of food containing the chemicals.
  • Biodiversity/biological diversity: The variability among living organisms, including diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.
  • Biosafety: Safe handling, transfer and use of living organisms modified through biotechnology.
  • C
  • Critical load: A target for reductions of wet sulphate deposition in Eastern Canada, designed to protect moderately sensitive freshwater systems (20 kg/ha/yr).
  • D
  • Dioxins and Furans: Popular names for two classes of chlorinated organic compounds, formed either as by-products during some types of chemical production that involve chlorine and high temperatures, or during combustion where a source of chlorine is present.
  • E
  • EcoAction 2000: A departmental funding program that helps Canadians take action in support of a healthy environment. It provides financial assistance to non-profit Canadian groups that wish to undertake local environmental projects.
  • Ecosystem: An integrated and stable association of living and non-living resources functioning within a defined physical location.
  • Endangered species: A species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  • Endocrine-disruptive substances (or endocrine disruptors): Pollutants that mimic the effects of natural hormones, and can affect growth, development and reproduction of fish and wildlife.
  • Environmental Management System (EMS): A systematic approach for organizations to bring environmental considerations into decision making and day-to-day operations. It also establishes a framework for tracking, evaluating and communicating environmental performance. An EMS helps ensure that major environmental risks and liabilities are identified, minimized and managed.
  • G
  • Green Power: Power generated from environmentally friendly sources or in ways that do not degrade the environment (e.g., wind, solar).
  • Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): Gases in the atmosphere that trap the sun's energy and thereby contribute to rising surface temperatures. The main greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change is carbon dioxide (CO2), a byproduct of burning fossil fuels. Other greenhouse gases include methane (from agricultural sources) and nitrous oxide (from industrial sources). Ground-Level Ozone: Ozone (O3) that occurs near the surface of the earth and is injurious to health. Its toxic effects make this pollutant a major component of smog.
  • K
  • Kyoto Protocol: An international agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and signed by Canada in April 1998 that establishes binding targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • P
  • Particulate matter: Microscopic solid and liquid particles, of human and natural origin, that remain suspended in the air for some time. Particles give smog its color and affect visibility, and are believed to have adverse affects on vegetation and on various synthetic and natural surfaces.
  • Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Substances (PBTs): Substances that produce toxic effects in living things, that stay in the environment a long time and accumulate as they are passed up the food chain.
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs): Organic substances that do not break down quickly in the environment and are readily taken in by living organisms through contaminated food or polluted water or air. These pollutants include some pesticides (e.g., DDT, Chlordane, Endrin); industrial chemicals (e.g., PCBs) or byproducts; and contaminants (e.g., dioxins and furans).
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): This group of isomers was originally used for its flame-retardant attributes. Used since 1929 in the production of electrical transformers and lubricating oils, PCBs became regulated in Canada in 1977. The importation of all electrical equipment containing PCBs was banned in 1980.
  • Precautionary principle: An internationally recognized principle for action that states where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, scientific uncertainty shall not be used to postpone cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Priority Substances List (PSL): Two lists of priority substances for assessment of toxicity. The first list of 44 substances has been assessed, and management plans are being developed or implemented for the 25 substances that were assessed, as toxics. The second list of 25 substances has been published in Part I of the Canada Gazette and is being assessed.
  • S
  • Smog Plan (Federal Smog Management Plan): A plan implemented jointly with Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada as the federal contribution to CCME actions to improve smog-related air quality.
  • Species at risk: General term for species that are endangered, threatened or vulnerable.
  • Stratospheric Ozone: The layer of the earth's atmosphere, extending from 15 to 35 kilometers above the earth, that protects life on the planet by absorbing harmful ultra-violet rays.
  • Sulphur dioxide, SO2 , wet sulphate: A chemical present in emissions from combustion of fossil fuels that enters the atmosphere and returns to earth with precipitation as acid rain.
  • Sustainable Development (SD): Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  • T
  • Threatened species: A species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
  • Toxic substance: A substance that is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or a concentration or under conditions: a) having or that may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment, or b) constituting or that may constitute a danger to the environment on which human life depends, or c) constituting or that may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.
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