Climate Change Debate Glossary

40 Climate Change terms

You can't make a difference in the world if you don't have the vocabulary necessary to get your ideas across. This glossary provides some of the vocabulary you need to formulate an argument about the climate crisis.

Originating in human activity.
Example: Cultural features supporting an ANTHROPOGENIC origin for this deposit include hearths, burnt bone, chipped stone tools and various other artefacts including 2 picrolite pendants beads and a pierced stone disc.
fr: anthropique
The envelope of gases surrounding the earth or another planet.
Example: New Urbanist communities are popular with today's homebuyers as they provide for a small town ATMOSPHERE .
fr: atmosphère
Methane, produced by the fermentation of organic matter.
Example: Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of organic matter such as food scraps and animal waste.
fr: biogaz
The chemical element of atomic number 6, which occurs as diamond and graphite and charcoal, soot, and coal.
Example: Understanding the distribution of per capita CARBON dioxide (CO 2) emissions is important in considering the design of international climate change proposals.
fr: carbone
carbon footprint
The total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent.
Example: British Petroleum, the second-largest non-state-owned oil company in the world hired the public relations professionals Ogilvy & Mather to promote the idea that climate change is not the fault of an oil giant, but that of individuals. It's a sham.
fr: empreinte carbone
carbon footprint
carbon sequestration
A natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.
Example: Soil carbon sequestration is a process in which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the soil carbon pool.
fr: séquestration du carbone
Carbon sequestration
carbon sink
Anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – for example, plants, the ocean and soil.
Example: The ocean is a giant carbon sink that absorbs carbon.
fr: puits de carbone
Nicholas D. Ward, Thomas S. Bianchi, Patricia M. Medeiros, Michael Seidel, Jeffrey E. Richey, Richard G. Keil and Henrique O. Sawakuchi, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering.
Example: The nation feared that invasion of Cuba would lead to a CATASTROPHIC war, and yet Kennedy would be politically reviled if he did nothing.
fr: catastrophique
climate change
A change attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
Example: By addressing and analyzing those political, economic, and environmental concerns of megacities in the CLIMATE CHANGE context, this thesis finds that these urban areas have much to be concerned about.
fr: changement climatique
climate justice
A term used to frame climate change as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature.
Example: The Human Rights Council panel repeatedly called for climate justice and immediate action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
fr: justice climatique
Protest sign
A colorless, odorless gas found in our atmosphere, with the chemical formula of one carbon atom bonded to two oxygen atoms.
Example: I find limited evidence of emissions convergence with an international data set over 1960-2000, and stark divergence in per capita CO2 among the U.S. states over 1960-1999.
fr: CO2
carbon dioxide
A combustible black or dark brown rock used as a fuel and consisting chiefly of carbonized plant matter.
Example: Reclamation techniques at five surface COAL mines are evaluated; the mines are located in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and New Mexico.
fr: charbon
The action of clearing a wide area of trees.
Example: The fungus is Aspergillum and is found in soils on land, it is thought to have been washed into the sea when soil erosion has occurred possibly due to farming on the land or DEFORESTATION.
fr: la déforestation
The production and discharge of something, especially gas or radiation.
Example: This thesis utilizes the MIT EMISSION Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model to study the interrelationships between these two types of policies.
fr: émission
energy efficiency
Using less energy to provide the same service.
Example: This research focuses on developing a tool to improve ENERGY EFFICIENCY of the built environment.
fr: efficacité énergétique
The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.
Example: Simulation was chosen because there is insufficient historical EVIDENCE to determine the value of the various factors in estimating an organization's reaction to the expanding use of EC.
fr: preuve
existential threat
A thing likely to end our survival.
Example: Climate change is an existential threat that disproportionately affects the most vulnerable.
fr: menace existentielle
extreme weather events
A time and place in which temperature, precipitation, drought, or flooding rank outside the range of historical measurements.
Example: More frequent, EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS are another indicator that global warming is taking place.
fr: événements météorologiques extrêmes
aftermath of storm surge from Hurricane Florence
fossil fuel
A natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.
Example: Climate change and urban air pollution are strongly connected since they are both partly originated by FOSSIL FUEL burning.
fr: combustibles fossiles
The abbreviation for gases that absorb and emit radiant energy, for example, water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.
Example: The dominant forcings now appear to be stratospheric and tropospheric ozone, biomass burning, indirect aerosols, solar variability and GHGS .
fr: GES
global warming
A gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of pollutants.
Example: In the past decade or so, GLOBAL WARMING has become the most contentious of all international environmental issues.
fr: le réchauffement climatique,
greenhouse gas
A gas that absorbs infrared radiation, for example, carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons.
Example: The urban areas of the developed world will likely find ways to decrease their per capita GREENHOUSE GAS emissions through more efficient energy uses and technologies.
fr: gaz à effet de serre
Greta Thunberg
proper noun
A Swedish environmental activist who is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation.
Example: In August 2018, Greta Thunberg started a school strike for the climate outside the Swedish Parliament that has since spread all over the world and now involves over 100,000 schoolchildren.
fr: Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg
hydrogen economy
A hypothetical future system of delivering energy through the use of hydrogen.
Example: When the economics become right, when the petrol dries up, then the possibly of moving over from a gas based, petrol based, economy to HYDROGEN ECONOMY is a very real one.
fr: économie de l'hydrogène
hydrogen economy
hydrogen fuel cell
A device that generates electrical power through a chemical reaction by converting hydrogen into electricity.
Example: In a hydrogen fuel cell, a catalyst at the anode separates hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons, which take different paths to the cathode.
fr: pile à combustible à hydrogène
hydrogen fuel cell vehicle
individual action
Actions taken by one individual person based on his or her personal decisions.
Example: The debate between Ralph Miliband and Nicos Poulantzas reveals that a clear distinction exists between social structure and INDIVIDUAL ACTION .
fr: action individuelle
individual action to prevent climate change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
An intergovernmental body of the United Nations, dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change.
fr: groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur les changements climatiques
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Example: IPCC report - Policymakers 2007 Models suggest that the major grain growing regions of North America and central China will become substantially hotter and drier.
fr: IPCC
Kyoto Protocol
An international treaty signed in 1997 among industrialized nations that sets mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
Example: The KYOTO PROTOCOL , Rome treaty on ICC and treaty banning Land mines demonstrate that a growing group of actors of international diplomacy asserts an ethical dimension in the diplomatic discourse.
fr: protocole de Kyoto
Make something ba) less severe, serious, or painful.
Example: Finally, the paper will examine methods by which international construction firms can MITIGATE these risks and maximize its benefits in the Chinese BOT boom.
fr: atténuer
net zero
The balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
Example: Achieving net-zero emissions means our economy either emits no greenhouse gas emissions or offsets its emissions, for example, through actions such as tree planting or employing technologies that can capture carbon before it is released into the air.
fr: zéro net
ldgregory7, Tommaso.sansone91, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
A viscous liquid derived from petroleum, especially for use as a fuel or lubricant.
Example: The project is a master planned community in an urban instead of ex- urban context as is typical, formed on a brownfields site, which is currently the OIL services company Halliburton's mostly vacant headquarters just Northeast of downtown Houston.
fr: pétrole
Paris Climate Agreement
proper name
An international treaty on climate change, adopted in 2015, coving climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
Example: The Paris Agreement works on a five-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
fr: paris
Adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement
parts per million
A way of expressing very dilute concentrations of substances.
Example: The chemical shift is dimensionless and measured in PARTS PER MILLION (ppm).
fr: parties par million
The official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.
Example: All of these results must be interpreted in the light of future corpus-based study of recurrent featuresof translation, and it is recommended that a standardized PROTOCOL for recording the attributes of future comparable corpora should be adopted.
fr: protocole
renewable energy
Energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power.
Example: The resultant electricity and hot water produced by the hybrid PV-T collector system helped to reduce the use of non-RENEWABLE ENERGY .
fr: énergie renouvelable
Move backwards.
Example: Thus, this study concludes that while remediation does partially ameliorate the negative price impacts associated with toxic waste sites, there remains a significant amount of inertia in the price recovery process, verifying common wisdom in the urban economics literature that REVERSE tipping of neighborhoods is difficult and problematic.
fr: sens inverse
An upward movement; an instance of rising.
Example: Sogdiana, among these three regions, witnessed the RISE , change and unprecedented development of many large metropolises that were distinct in several ways from the cities in other parts of the Islamic world.
fr: monter
The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.
Example: EC is commerce that utilizes electronic devices, TECHNOLOGY , and or applications in one or more business processes.
fr: la technologie
The degree or intensity of heat, especially as expressed according to a thermometer or perceived by touch.
Example: I find that TEMPERATURE and energy price shocks adversely affect elderly mortality.
fr: température