Glossary

Adaptation
Actions to adapt to the effects of climate change

Biomass
Organic material made from plants and animals.

Biofuel
Transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel that are made from biomass materials. These fuels are usually blended with the petroleum fuels, but they can also be used on their own.

Brownfield land
Abandoned, or under-used industrial and commercial land

Carbon dioxide
CO2 is a colourless, odourless, non-poisonous gas that is a natural part of the air.

Carbon footprint
A measure of the impact individuals have on the environment measures in tonnes units of CO2 released into the atmosphere.

Climate
The average weather of a region usually over a 30 year period, including typical weather patterns, the frequency and intensity of storms, cold spells, and heat waves.

Climate change
Refers to any change in climate over time whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.

Climate models
Scientists use computer models to solve mathematical equations that are based on the relations between atmosphere, oceans and land. They are used for different purposes from the study of the weather and climate system to projections of future climate.

Ecosystem
Is an environment containing a community of interdependent plants and animals.

Ethanol
Alcohol fuel made from the sugars found in grains, such as corn and wheat, as well as potato skins, rice and sugar cane. Scientists are working on cheaper ways to make ethanol by using all parts of plants and trees.

Fossil fuels
Fuel that is formed in the Earth from plant or animal remains, including coal, oil, natural gas, oil shales, and tar sands.

Greenhouse effect
The effect produced as greenhouse gases allow incoming solar radiation to pass through the Earth's atmosphere, but prevent most of the outgoing infrared radiation from the surface and lower atmosphere from escaping into outer space. This process occurs naturally and without it, the Earth's temperature would be about 20°C to 30°C colder and less suitable for life.

Greenhouse gas
Any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere.

Mitigate
Actions to reduce the effects of global warming.

Photovoltaic solar cells
Collects light energy from the sun and converts it into electrical current.

Precipitation
Is the term given to moisture that falls from the air to the ground, it includes rain, snow, hail, sleet, drizzle, fog and mist.

Regeneration
The improvement or redevelopment of land.

Renewable Energy
Energy from natural sources which won’t run out such as geothermal, wind, solar, and biomass.

Scenario
A description of a possible future state of the world.

Sustainable
Meeting present needs without preventing future generations from meeting their needs.