Glossary

Abatement

Refers to reducing the degree or intensity of greenhouse-gas emissions.


Acclimatization

The physiological adaptation to climatic variations.


Adaptation

Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.


Bali Action Plan

A plan drawn up at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, in December 2007, forming part of the Bali roadmap. The action plan established a working group to define a long-term global goal for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and a "shared vision for long-term co-operative action" in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology.


Bali Roadmap

A plan drawn up at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, in December 2007, to pave the way for an agreement at Copenhagen in 2009 on further efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol. The roadmap gave deadlines to two working groups, one working on the Bali action plan, and another discussing proposed emission reductions by Annex I countries after 2012.


Baseline for Cuts

The year against which countries measure their target decrease of emissions. The Kyoto Protocol uses a baseline year of 1990. Some countries prefer to use later baselines. Climate change legislation in the United States, for example, uses a 2005 baseline.


Cap and Trade

An emission trading scheme whereby businesses or countries can buy or sell allowances to emit greenhouse gases via an exchange. The volume of allowances issued adds up to the limit, or cap, imposed by the authorities.


Carbon Capture and Storage

The collection and transport of concentrated carbon dioxide gas from large emission sources, such as power plants. The gases are then injected into deep underground reservoirs. Carbon capture is sometimes referred to as geological sequestration.


Capacity Building

In the context of climate change, the process of developing the technical skills and institutional capability in developing countries and economies in transition to enable them to address effectively the causes and results of climate change.


Carbon Market

A popular (but misleading) term for a trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse-gas emissions in an effort to meet their national limits on emissions, either under the Kyoto Protocol or under other agreements, such as that among member states of the European Union. The term comes from the fact that carbon dioxide is the predominant greenhouse gas, and other gases are measured in units called "carbon-dioxide equivalents.


Carbon Footprint

The amount of carbon emitted by an individual or organisation in a given period of time, or the amount of carbon emitted during the manufacture of a product


Carbon Intensity

A unit of measure. The amount of carbon emitted by a country per unit of Gross Domestic Product.


Carbon Leakage

A term used to refer to the problem whereby industry relocates to countries where emission regimes are weaker, or non-existent.


Carbon Neutral

A process where there is no net release of CO2. For example, growing biomass takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, while burning it releases the gas again. The process would be carbon neutral if the amount taken out and the amount released were identical. A company or country can also achieve carbon neutrality by means of carbon offsetting.


Carbon Offsetting

A way of compensating for emissions of CO2 by participating in, or funding, efforts to take CO2 out of the atmosphere. Offsetting often involves paying another party, somewhere else, to save emissions equivalent to those produced by your activity.

Carbon Sequestration

The process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir. This can happen naturally, as growing trees and plants turn CO2 into biomass (wood, leaves, and so on). It can also refer to the capture and storage of CO2 produced by industry. See Carbon capture and storage.

CBO

Community Based Organization

Clean Development Mechanism

A mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol through which developed countries may finance greenhouse-gas emission reduction or removal projects in developing countries, and receive credits for doing so which they may apply towards meeting mandatory limits on their own emissions.

CDM Loan Scheme

An interest-free, loan initiative that provides funding to projects for development of PDD, validation, and first verification. It applies to projects located in host countries with less than 10 CDM project activities registered with the UNFCCC (as of 1 January of the year of submission), with a high probability of registration with the UNFCCC and generating at least 7,500 CERs/year for projects in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and 15,000 CERs/year in non-LDCs.

Certified Emission Reductions (CER)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. CERs are issued for emission reductions from CDM project activities. Two special types of CERs called temporary certified emission reduction (tCERs) and long-term certified emission reductions (lCERs) are issued for emission removals from afforestation and reforestation CDM projects.

Climate Change

Changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer. Climate change encompasses both increases and decreases in temperature, as well as shifts in precipitation, changing risk of certain types of severe weather events, and changes to other features of the climate system.


Climate Indices

Indices are diagnostic tools used to describe the state of a climate system. Climate indices are most often represented with a time series; each point in time corresponds to one index value. An index can be constructed to describe almost any atmospheric event and are created with a specific purpose: to monitor climate


Climate Model

A numerical representation of the climate system based on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of its components, their interactions and feedback processes, and accounting for all or some of its known properties.


Climate Scenario

A plausible and often simplified representation of the future climate, based on an internally consistent set of climatological relationships, that has been constructed for explicit use in investigating the potential consequences of anthropogenic climate change, often serving as input to impact models.


Climate Variability

Natural changes in climate that fall within the observed range of extremes for a particular region, as measured by temperature, precipitation, and frequency of events. Drivers of climate variability include the El Niño Southern Oscillation and other phenomena.


Climate Justice

The term used for viewing climate change as ethical issue, and considering how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice


Climate Legislation

Legislation dealing with regulation of greenhouse gas emissions


Climate Fefugee

A displaced person caused by climate change induced environmental disasters.


COP

Conference of the Parties. The supreme body of the Convention. It currently meets once a year to review the Convention's progress. The word "conference" is not used here in the sense of "meeting" but rather of "association". The "Conference" meets in sessional periods, for example, the "fourth session of the Conference of the Parties.


Diurnal Temperature Range (DTR)

It is the difference between the daily maximum and minimum temperature. Changes in DTR have multiple possible causes (cloud cover, urban heat, land use change, aerosols, water vapor and greenhouse gases)


Drought

A period of abnormally dry weather marked by little or no rain that lasts long enough to cause water shortage for people and natural systems


El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

A set of specific interacting parts of a single global system of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate fluctuations that come about as a consequence of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.


Emission Reduction Unit (ERU)

A Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne of CO2 equivalent. ERUs are generated for emission reductions or emission removals from joint implementation projects


Emissions Trading

A market-based approach to achieving environmental objectives that allows, those reducing greenhouse gas emissions below what is required, to use or trade the excess reductions to offset emissions at another source inside or outside the country. In general, trading can occur at the intracompany, domestic, and international levels.


Emission Trading Scheme (ETS)

A scheme set up to allow the trading of emissions permits between business and/or countries as part of a cap and trade approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The best-developed example is the EU's trading scheme, launched in 2005.


Exposure

The nature and degree to which a system is exposed to significant climatic variations


Extreme Events

A weather event that is rare at a particular place and time of year, including, for example, heat waves, cold waves, heavy rains, periods of drought and flooding, and severe storms Extremities


Forcing

Factors that affect the Earth's climate. For example, natural factors such as volcanoes and human factors such as the emission of heat-trapping gases and particles through fossil fuel combustion


Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)

The fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in 2014. The AR5 provides an update of knowledge on the scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of climate change


Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)

The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in 2007. It is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for adaptation and mitigation.


Feedback Loop

In a feedback loop, rising temperatures on the Earth change the environment in ways that affect the rate of warming. Feedback loops can be positive (adding to the rate of warming), or negative (reducing it). The melting of Arctic ice provides an example of a positive feedback process. As the ice on the surface of the Arctic Ocean melts away, there is a smaller area of white ice to reflect the Sun's heat back into space and more open, dark water to absorb it. The less ice there is, the more the water heats up, and the faster the remaining ice melts.


Flexible Mechanism

Instruments that help countries and companies meet emission reduction targets by paying others to reduce emissions for them. The mechanism in widest use is emissions trading, where companies or countries buy and sell permits to pollute. The Kyoto Protocol establishes two flexible mechanisms enabling rich countries to fund emission reduction projects in developing countries - Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).


Fossil Fuels

Natural resources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, containing hydrocarbons. These fuels are formed in the Earth over millions of years and produce carbon dioxide when burnt.


Geo-Engineering

The notion that we can manage the balance of total energy of the atmosphere, ocean, ice, and land to yield a stable climate in the presence of changing greenhouse gases.


Global Climate Models (GCM)

Mathematical models that simulate the physics, chemistry, and biology that influence the climate system.


Green Climate Fund (GCF)

At COP 16 in Cancun in 2010, Governments established a Green Climate Fund as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention under Article 11. The GCF will support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties. The Fund will be governed by the GCF Board


Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

The atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change. The major GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). Less prevalent --but very powerful -- greenhouse gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).


Global Warming Potential

An index representing the combined effect of the differing times greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation


G77

The main negotiating bloc for developing countries, allied with China (G77+China). The G77 comprises 130 countries, including India and Brazil, most African countries, the grouping of small island states (Aosis), the Gulf states and many others, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.


Geological Sequestration

The injection of carbon dioxide into underground geological formations. When CO2 is injected into declining oil fields it can help to recover more of the oil.


Global Average Temperature

The mean surface temperature of the Earth measured from three main sources: satellites, monthly readings from a network of over 3,000 surface temperature observation stations and sea surface temperature measurements taken mainly from the fleet of merchant ships, naval ships and data buoys.


Hazard

An event or condition that may cause injury, illness, or death to people or damage to assets


Heat Wave

A period of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks


Hockey Stick

The name given to a graph published in 1998 plotting the average temperature in the Northern hemisphere over the last 1,000 years. The line remains roughly flat until the last 100 years, when it bends sharply upwards. The graph has been cited as evidence to support the idea that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, but some scientists have challenged the data and methodology used to estimate historical temperatures. (It is also known as MBH98 after its creators, Michael E. Mann, Raymond S. Bradley and Malcolm K. Hughes.)


Implementation

Actions (legislation or regulations, judicial decrees, or other actions) that governments take to translate international accords into domestic law and policy


Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)

(INDCs) is a term used under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that all countries that signed the UNFCCC were asked to publish in the lead-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris, France, in December 2015. The INDCs combine the top-down system of a United Nations climate agreement with bottom-up system-in elements through which countries put forward their agreements in the context of their own national circumstances, capabilities and priorities, within the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.


Indicator

An observation or calculation that allows scientists, analysts, decision makers, and others to track environmental trends, understand key factors that influence the environment, and identify effects on ecosystems and society.


Indigenous Knowledges

In brief, refers to Indigenous peoples' systems of observing, monitoring, researching, recording, communicating, and learning that are required, as for any group, to support survival and flourishing in an ecosystem and the social adaptive capacity to adjust to or prepare for changes.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Programme, the IPCC surveys world-wide scientific and technical literature and publishes assessment reports that are widely recognized as the most credible existing sources of information on climate change. The IPCC also works on methodologies and responds to specific requests from the Convention's subsidiary bodies. The IPCC is independent of the Convention.


Joint Implementation (JI)

An agreement between two parties whereby one party struggling to meet its emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol earns emission reduction units from another party's emission removal project. The JI is a flexible and cost-efficient way of fulfilling Kyoto agreements while also encouraging foreign investment and technology transfer.


Kyoto Mechanisms

Three procedures established under the Kyoto Protocol to increase the flexibility and reduce the costs of making greenhouse-gas emissions cuts. They are the Clean Development Mechanism, Emissions Trading and Joint Implementation


Kyoto Protocol

An international agreement standing on its own, and requiring separate ratification by governments, but linked to the UNFCCC. The Kyoto Protocol, among other things, sets binding targets for the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by industrialized countries.


Local Action Plan on Adaptation (LAPA)

LAPAs are community-based approaches that take a "vulnerability first" approach to climate change adaptation. LAPAs contrast with National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPAs) in their bottom-up, local approach, but in some cases are funded under the similar development assistance schemes. LAPAs are often prepared at local government level, although community-based LAPAs are also in place. The practice was initiated in Nepal under the guidance of the Ministry of Population and Environment, the national focal point to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chan


Least Developed Countries (LDC)

LDC represent the poorest and weakest countries in the world. The current list of LDCs includes 49 countries - 33 in Africa, 15 in Asia and the Pacific, and one in Latin America.


Mitigation

In the context of climate change, a human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases. Examples include using fossil fuels more efficiently for industrial processes or electricity generation, switching to solar energy or wind power, improving the insulation of buildings, and expanding forests and other "sinks" to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement adopted in Montreal in 1987.


NABARD

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development


National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS)

NAIS helps stabilize farm incomes, particularly in disaster years and provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases so as to restore their credit worthiness for ensuing season.


National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)

India released NAPCC in 2008 with eight missions


National Mission for a Green India

Aims to increased forest/tree cover on 5 m ha of forest/non-forest lands and improved quality of forest cover on another 5 m ha (a total of 10 m ha), improved ecosystem services including biodiversity, hydrological services, and carbon sequestration as a result of treatment of 10 m ha


National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Recommends mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy consuming industries. It also recommends financing for public-private participants to reduce energy consumption through demand side management programs.


National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

Aims to support climate adaptation in agriculture through the development of climate resilient crops and appropriate agricultural practices.


National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem

Aims to conserve biodiversity, forest cover and other ecological values in the Himalayan region.


National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

Aims to increase a better understanding of climate science, impacts and challenges. It envisions improved climate modelling and increased international collaboration to develop adaptation and mitigation technologies


National Mission on Sustainable Habita

Aims to promote energy efficiency as a core competent for urban planning. The plan calls for a greater emphasis on urban waste management and recycling including production of power from waste


National Solar Mission (renamed as Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission)

Aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses with the ultimate objective of making solar energy competitive with fossil based energy options


National Water Mission

NWM sets a goal of 20 percent improvement in water use efficiency through pricing and other measures.


Non-Annex I countries

The group of developing countries that have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol. They do not have binding emission reduction targets.


Paleoclimate

Actions (legislation or regulations, judicial decrees, or other actions) that governments take to translate international accords into domestic law and policy


Permafrost

Perennially frozen ground that occurs wherever the temperature remains below 0°C for several years


Per-capita Emissions

The total amount of greenhouse gas emitted by a country per unit of population.


Potential Impact

Impacts of climate change are the effects of climate change on natural (e.g. water resources, biodiversity, soil, etc) and human systems (e.g. agriculture, health, tourism, etc). Potential impacts are all impacts that may occur given a projected change in climate, without considering adaptation


Protocol

An international agreement linked to an existing convention, but as a separate and additional agreement which must be signed and ratified by the Parties to the convention concerned. Protocols typically strengthen a convention by adding new, more detailed commitments.


Qualitative Assessment

Qualitative assessment rely on descriptive information and expert knowledge and evaluation ranking into qualitative classes such as “high”, “medium” and “low”.


Quantitative Assessment

Quantitative assessment of risk will be performed with technical expertise and appropriate models


Rain-fed Area Development Programme (RADP)

RADP ensures agriculture growth in the rainfed areas and focuses on Integrated Farming System (IFS) for enhancing productivity and minimizing risks associated with climatic variabilities.


Radiative forcing

Radiative forcing or climate forcing is the difference between insolation (sunlight) absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space. Positive radiative forcing means Earth receives more incoming energy from sunlight than it radiates to space. This net gain of energy will cause warming. Conversely, negative radiative forcing means that Earth loses more energy to space than it receives from the sun, which produces cooling.


Representative Concentrative Pathways (RCP)

Scenarios that include time series of emissions and concentrations of the full suite of greenhouse gases, and aerosols and other chemically active gases, as well as land use/land cover. The word "representative" signifies that each RCP provides only one of many possible scenarios that would lead to the specific radiative forcing characteristics. The term "pathway" emphasizes that not only the long-term concentration levels are of interest, but also the trajectory taken over time to reach that outcome


Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries launched in 2008. The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation.


Reforestation

Replanting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other use.


Reservoirs

A component or components of the climate system where a greenhouse gas or a precursor of a greenhouse gas is stored. Trees are "reservoirs" for carbon dioxide.


Resilience

A capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, the economy, and the environment.


Risk

Risks are threats to life, health and safety, the environment, economic well-being, and other things of value. Risks are often evaluated in terms of how likely they are to occur (probability) and the damages that would result if they did happen (consequences).


State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC)

Due to India’s federal structure, states have the primarily responsibility to address climate change in their constituencies. State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC.


Second Assessment Report (SAR)

An extensive review of worldwide research on climate change compiled by the IPCC and published in 1995. Some 2,000 scientists and experts participated. The report is also known as Climate Change 1995. The SAR concluded that "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate." It also said "no-regrets options" and other cost-effective strategies exist for combating climate change.


Sensitivity

The degree to which a system or species is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate variability or change.


Sink

Any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Forests and other vegetation are considered sinks because they remove carbon dioxide through photosynthesis


Sea Level Rise

An increase in the mean level of the ocean. Sea-level rise is a change in global average sea level brought about by an alteration to the volume of the world ocean. Relative sea level rise occurs where there is a net increase in the level of the ocean relative to local land movements. Climate modelers largely concentrate on estimating sea-level change. Impact researchers focus on relative sea-level change.


Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)

The SCCF was established to finance projects relating to adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management; and economic diversification. This fund should complement other funding mechanisms for the implementation of the Convention. The Global Environment Facility (GEF), as the entity that operates the financial mechanism of the Convention, has been entrusted to operate this fund.


Second Assessment Report (SAR)

An extensive review of worldwide research on climate change compiled by the IPCC and published in 1995.


Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES)

A set of emission scenarios from the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios released in 2000 that describe a wide range of potential future socioeconomic conditions and resulting emissions.


Sea Surface Temperature (SST)

Sea surface temperature is the water temperature close to the ocean's Surface and have a large influence on climate and weather.


Sunspot

A region on the Sun's surface (photosphere) that is marked by a lower temperature than its surroundings and has intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection, forming areas of low surface temperature. Sunspot activity is subject to research on climate change.


Technology Transfer

A broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment for mitigating and adapting to climate change among different stakeholders.


Thermohaline Circulation

It is a part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes.


THI

Temperature Humidity Index is a measure that has been used to assess the risk of heat stress since the early 1990s. It accounts for the combined effects of environmental temperature and relative humidity.


Third Assessment Report (TAR)

The third extensive review of global scientific research on climate change, published by the IPCC in 2001. Among other things, the report stated that "The Earth's climate system has demonstrably changed on both global and regional scales since the pre-industrial era, with some of these changes attributable to human activities. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities." The TAR also focused on the regional effects of climate change.


TNSAPCC

Tamil Nadu State Action Plan on Climate Change was released on 2014 by Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu. TNSAPCC aims to define an overarching climate response framework at the State Government level to reduce vulnerability; reduce hazards and exposure; pool, transfer, and share risks; prepare and respond effectively; and increase capacity to cope with unforeseen events.


Tipping Point

A tipping point is a threshold for change, which, when reached, results in a process that is difficult to reverse. Scientists say it is urgent that policy makers halve global carbon dioxide emissions over the next 50 years or risk triggering changes that could be irreversible


TUNGO

Trade related non-governmental organizations


Uncertainty

An expression of the degree to which future climate is unknown. Uncertainty about the future climate arises from the complexity of the climate system and the ability of models to represent it, as well as the inability to predict the decisions that society will make.


UNFCCC

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is one of a series of international agreements on global environmental issues adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The UNFCCC aims to prevent "dangerous" human interference with the climate system. It entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has been ratified by 192 countries.


Urban Heat Island (UHI)

The tendency for higher air temperatures to persist in urban areas as a result of heat absorbed and emitted by buildings and asphalt, tending to make cities warmer than the surrounding countryside.


UNDP

United Nations Development Programme


Vulnerability

The degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. It is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity.


Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (WBCIS)

WBCIS is intended to provide insurance protection to the farmers against adverse weather incidence, such as deficit and excess rainfall, high or low temperature, humidity etc. which are deemed to impact adversely the crop production.


YOUNGO

Youth non-governmental organization