Toggle menu

Climate Change Strategy

Climate Change Glossary and Resources


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.

The diversity of life on earth, from genes to species to ecosystems.

A fuel derived from renewable, biological sources, including crops such as maize and sugar cane, and some forms of waste.

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.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) 
Carbon dioxide is a gas in the Earth's atmosphere which occurs naturally and is also a by-product of human activities such as burning fossil fuels. It is the principal greenhouse gas produced by human activity.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent 
Six greenhouse gases are limited by the Kyoto Protocol and each has a different global warming potential. The overall warming effect of this cocktail of gases is often expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent - the amount of CO2 that would cause the same amount of warming.

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 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 storing carbon dioxide. 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.

Climate change
Changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades affecting global or regional climate, as measured by yardsticks such as average temperature and rainfall, or an alteration in frequency of extreme weather conditions. This variation may be caused by both natural processes and human activity. Global warming is one aspect of climate change.

CO2 See carbon dioxide.

The permanent removal of standing forests that can lead to significant levels of carbon dioxide emissions.

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.

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.

Global energy budget 
The balance between the Earth's incoming and outgoing energy. The current global climate system must adjust to rising greenhouse gas levels and, in the very long term, the Earth must get rid of energy at the same rate at which it receives energy from the sun.

Global warming 
The steady rise in global average temperature in recent decades, which experts believe is largely caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The long-term trend continues upwards, they suggest, even though the warmest year on record, according to the UK's Met Office, is 1998.

Global warming 
The observed increase in average temperature near the Earth's surface and in the lowest layer of the atmosphere. In common usage, "global warming" often refers to the warming that has occurred as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. Global warming is a type of climate change; it can also lead to other changes in climate conditions, such as changes in precipitation patterns.

Green Bus Stops
Green Bus Stops are specifically designed to alleviate the heat intensity and improve the air quality at a bus stop. Features include a layer of plants which act as a shade for the bus stop's roof and will absorb the heat for evapotranspiration, thus reducing the ambient temperature and the amount of heat radiated to commuters. The provide a habitat for many small pollinating creatures and improving biodiversity. They also provide visual amenity and can include solar powered lighting.

Greenhouse gases 
That absorb heat in the atmosphere near the Earth's surface, preventing it from escaping into space. If the atmospheric concentrations of these gases rise, the average temperature of the lower atmosphere will gradually increase, a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases include, for example, carbon dioxide, water vapour, and methane.

Greenhouses effect 
The insulating effect of certain gases in the atmosphere, which allow solar radiation to warm the earth and then prevent some of the heat from escaping.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil, a biofuel derived from used cooking oils, residual fats from food processing and non-food grade crops. Used as an alternative to conventional diesel.  

Invasive species
A non-native organism whose introduction within a particular ecosystem causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human, animal, or plant health.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic work relevant to climate change, but does not carry out its own research.

Kyoto Protocol 
A protocol attached to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets legally binding commitments on greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is the second most important man-made greenhouse gas. Sources include both the natural world (wetlands, termites, wildfires) and human activity (agriculture, waste dumps, leaks from coal mining).

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

Ozone Layer
A colourless gas consisting of three atoms of oxygen, readily reacting with many other substances. Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects the Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. In the lower atmosphere ozone is an air pollutant with harmful effects on human health.

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
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).

Renewable energy 
Renewable energy is energy created from sources that can be replenished in a short period of time. The five renewable sources used most often are: biomass (such as wood and biogas), the movement of water, geothermal (heat from within the earth), wind, and solar.




Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email