Avoidance costs:

Actual or imputed costs for preventing environmental deterioration by alternative production and consumption processes, or by the reduction of or abstention from economic activities.


Background concentration:

Ambient concentration of pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, measured by background stations.


See Bureau of Economic Analysis.


Range of genetic differences, species differences, and ecosystem differences in a given area.


Total living weight (generally in dry weight) of all organisms in a particular area or habitat. It is sometimes expressed as weight per unit area of land or per unit volume of water.


Thin stratum of the earth's surface and upper water layer containing the total mass of living organisms that process and recycle the energy and nutrients available from the environment.

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that serves as the nation's economic accountant, preparing estimates that illuminate key national, international, and regional aspects of the U.S. economy.



In classical and neoclassical economic theory, one of the triad of productive inputs (land, labor, capital). Capital consists of durable produced goods that are in turn used in production. The major components of capital are equipment, structures, and inventory.

Capital accumulation (environmental accounting):

Environmentally adjusted concept of capital formation that accounts for additions to and subtractions from natural capital. The concept may also include discoveries or transfers (from the environment into the economic system) of natural resources, and the effects of disasters and natural growth.

Capital consumption:

The wearing away of capital stock due to physical destruction or erosion through the ravages of time and through the use of the asset in production, plus the complete withdrawal of capital assets from capital stock (scrappage). Depreciation is more general, in that it is the fall in the price of a capital asset as it ages. Depreciation includes capital consumption, and it also includes revaluation, which consists of pure inflation and obsolescence.

Carbon dioxide (CO2):

Colorless, odorless, and nonpoisonous gas that results from fossil fuel combustion and is normally a part of ambient air. It is also produced in the respiration of living organisms (plants and animals) and considered to be the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

Carbon monoxide (CO):

Colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas pro-

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