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Climate Change Glossary
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Climate Change Glossary

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Adaptation - Action that helps cope with the effects of climate change - for example construction of barriers to protect against rising sea levels, or conversion to crops capable of surviving high temperatures and drought.

Adaptation fund - A fund for projects and programmes that help developing countries cope with the adverse effects of climate change. It is financed by a share of proceeds from emission-reduction programmes such as the Clean Development Mechanism.

Annex I countries - The industrialised countries (and countries in transition to a market economy) which took on obligations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Their combined emissions, averaged out during the 2008-2012 period, should be 5.2% below 1990 levels.

Annex II - Countries which have a special obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to provide financial resources and transfer technology to developing countries. This group is a sub-section of the Annex I countries, excluding those that, in 1992, were in transition from centrally planned to a free market economy.

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.
Anthropogenic climate change Man-made climate change - climate change caused by human activity as opposed to natural processes.

Certified Emission Reduction (CER) - A greenhouse gas trading credit, under the UN Clean Development Mechanism programme. A CER may be earned by participating in emission reduction programmes - installing green technology, or planting forests - in developing countries. Each CER is equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

COP15 - The official title of the Copenhagen conference, which takes place from 7-18 December 2009. Alternatively, it can be called the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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.

Kyoto Protocol - A protocol attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets legally binding commitments on greenhouse gas emissions. Industrialised countries agreed to reduce their combined emissions to 5.2% below 1990 levels during the five-year period 2008-2012. It was agreed by governments at a 1997 UN conference in Kyoto, Japan, but did not legally come into force until 2005.

Mitigation - Action that will reduce man-made climate change. This includes action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or absorb greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

REDD - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, a concept that would provide developing countries with a financial incentive to preserve forests. The Copenhagen conference is expected to finalise an international finance mechanism for the post-2012 global climate change framework.

Stern review - A report on the economics of climate change led by Lord Nicholas Stern, a former World Bank economist. It was published on 30 October 2006 and argued that the cost of dealing with the consequences of climate change in the future would be higher than taking action to mitigate the problem now.

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.











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