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Decoding Climate: Key Terms for Understanding Change



  Feb 05, 2024

Climate Change Terms



Climate change terminology is becoming increasingly prevalent in discussions about the environment and sustainability. This glossary simplifies and explains essential terms to enhance understanding and communication on this critical issue.

1. Mitigation

Mitigation refers to strategies and actions aimed at reducing the severity of climate change. This involves cutting down greenhouse gas emissions—primarily by moving away from fossil fuel usage—and enhancing natural systems like forests and oceans that can absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

2. Adaptation

Adaptation involves adjusting to the effects of climate change that are already happening or are inevitable. This includes measures like improving coastal defenses to protect against sea-level rise and utilizing technology such as artificial intelligence for early wildfire detection. 3. Loss and Damage

This term covers the harm caused by climate change impacts when mitigation and adaptation efforts are insufficient. It encompasses the physical damage to infrastructure and the broader impacts on human and natural systems, including health, livelihoods, and cultural heritage.

4. Paris Agreement

A landmark international treaty adopted in 2015, where 196 countries committed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius to significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

5. Global Stocktake

An exercise conducted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to assess the progress toward achieving the goals set in the Paris Agreement. It looks at emission levels, climate actions, and the overall effectiveness of international climate efforts.

6. Just Transition

This concept emphasizes the need for a fair shift towards a sustainable economy that includes all communities, workers, and social groups. It advocates for equitable job opportunities and support for workers affected by the transition away from fossil fuels.

7. Climate Anxiety

A form of distress caused by concerns over climate change and its impacts, affecting mental health, particularly among younger populations. It reflects the growing awareness and emotional response to climate-related challenges and losses.

8. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

Targets set by countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. NDCs are updated every five years, with the goal of becoming progressively more ambitious to meet global climate objectives.

9. Emissions Trading Scheme

A market-based approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for reducing emissions. It sets a cap on emissions and allows companies to trade permits for emitting CO2, encouraging reductions where they are most cost-effective.

10. Carbon Sink

Natural environments that absorb more carbon than they release, helping to counterbalance greenhouse gas emissions. Forests, oceans, and even certain animal species can act as carbon sinks, playing a crucial role in climate change mitigation.

By demystifying these terms, we can foster a deeper understanding of climate change and the collective efforts needed to address it. This knowledge is essential for informed discussions and actions towards a sustainable future.

SRIRAM’s


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