Definations On Climate Change

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Note: These definitions above have been adopted from the UNFCCC and its affiliated organisations/agreements.

Capacity building

Capacity building and capacity development for climate change refers to the development or strengthening of personnel skills, expertise, and relevant institutions and organisations to reduce GHG emissions and/or to reduce vulnerability and adapt to climate-related impacts.

Technology transfer

A broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment for mitigating and adapting to climate change amongst different stakeholders such as governments, private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations and research/education institutions


Adaptation to global warming refers to actions aimed at coping withclimatic changes that cannot be avoided and at reducing their negative effects. Adaptation measures include the prevention, tolerance orsharing of losses, changes in land use or activities, changes of location and restoration.


Mitigation refers to efforts that seek to prevent or slow down the increase of atmospheric GHG concentrations by limiting current and future emissions and enhancing potential sinks for greenhouse gases.

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international binding agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was adopted at the 3rd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.


Is a non-binding global agreement on climate change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognises that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It was adopted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992.

Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Kyoto Protocol

Is a meeting of countries, world leaders, organisations, businesses, individuals, etc under the auspices of the UNFCCC. National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) Zambia, Final Draft

Greenhouse gases (GHGs)

Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorbs and re-emits infrared radiation. The Kyoto Protocol deals with six anthropogenic greenhouse gases, namely, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and two groups of gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs e.g. HFC-23) and perfluorocarbons (e.g. CF4).

Global warming

The intensification of the greenhouse effect, which results from anthropogenic actions, where the consequence is an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, aerosols and their predecessorsin the atmosphere. These absorb and retain part of the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, thus increasing the average temperature on the planet and causing adverse climatic phenomena.

National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs)

As defined in Article 4.9 of the UNFCCC, and further provided for by Decision 5/CP.7 of the 7th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, provide a process for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change – those for which further delay would increase vulnerability and/or costs at a later stage.

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs)

Refers to a set of policies and actions countries undertake as part of commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The term recognises that different countries may take different nationally appropriate action on the basis of equity and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It also emphasises financial assistance from developed countries to developing countries to reduce emissions. NAMA was first used in the Bali Action Plan as part of the Bali Road Map agreed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, and also formed part of the Copenhagen Accord issued following the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) in December 2009.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Is a body or institution formed jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1989 to provide broad and balanced information about climate change..

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Is a body or institution formed jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1989 to provide broad and balanced information about climate change..

Carbon Markets/Trading

An international market regime in which carbon emission reductions allowances or credits are bought and sold.


The degree of susceptibility to the negative effects of climate change. It is a function of the type, magnitude and frequency of climate events to which a system is exposed to (exposure) as well as sensitivity and capacity for adaptation (adaptive capacity).


The ability of a system to adapt to climate change, whether by taking advantage of the opportunities, or by dealing with their consequences.

Sustainable development (Sustainability)

Is development which meets the needs of current generations, without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet theirs.