COP26: Principles and priorities—a POST survey of expert views: Fourth Special Report of Session 2019–21 Contents

Appendix 2: Glossary of terms

Adaptation and resilience: Improvement in the ability of natural and human systems to respond to climate change impacts (e.g. extreme weather events) before or after they have occurred (adaptation), or improvement in their inherent ability to absorb and withstand after an adverse event (resilience). One of the five COP26 themes.

AILAC: Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean, a UNFCCC negotiating block of 8 nations.

AOSIS: Alliance of Small Island States, a UNFCCC negotiating block of 39 nations.

Article 6: An element of the Paris Rulebook that must be agreed upon at COP26. It broadly relates to the rules that govern international carbon markets (such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme) and non-market cooperation.

Carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS): The process of capturing waste carbon dioxide, then storing it somewhere or using it in such a way that it cannot contribute to climate change.

Carbon sink: A natural or human object or process that absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it emits (e.g. a forest or ocean).

Climate Assembly UK: The citizens’ assembly on climate change commissioned by six House of Commons select committees in 2019–20 to understand public preferences on how the UK should meet its net zero targets.

Conference of the Parties (COP): Annual summits at which UNFCCC signatories make decisions on the global response to climate change.

CBD: The Convention on Biological Diversity UN framework for addressing biodiversity loss, reflecting the UNFCCC mechanism for addressing climate change.

Green New Deal: A programme of policies proposed in the UK, US and elsewhere that would collectively aim to address climate change and economic inequality. While definitions vary, it broadly encompasses substantial investment and regulation programmes alongside redistributive measures.

Just Transition: A policy framework for protecting workers’ rights and livelihoods as economies undergo sustainable transitions. Examples include the set of interventions to reskill or otherwise support oil and gas workers as these industries decline or change outputs.

LDCs: Least Developed Country Group, a UNFCCC negotiating block comprised of the 48 least economically developed nations.

Loss and damage: The negative impacts and damages from climate change that are occurring and will occur in future that cannot be avoided through mitigation, adaptation or resilience. Loss refers to irreversible loss (such as human life or species) while damage refers to things that can be repaired or restored, such as infrastructure.

Mitigation Pathway: Planned future trajectories for national greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for potential technological, economic and social developments.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): The pledges that signatories to the Paris Agreement are required to make, outlining how they plan to respond to climate change to 2030 and beyond through emissions reduction and adaptation. New, more ambitious NDCs are due to be presented every five years, beginning in 2020.

Nature-based solutions: Actions that protect, manage and restore ecosystems to address societal challenges (e.g. climate change) while enhancing human wellbeing. One of the five COP26 themes.

Paris Rulebook: The set of guidelines, procedures and operations that set out how the Paris Agreement is implemented over the coming decades (particularly focusing on how NDCs are updated, monitored and communicated over the course of the ratchet mechanism period). The majority of the rulebook was agreed at COP24 (2018) in Katowice (the rulebook is also known as the Katowice climate package), but a few issues remain unagreed upon. These issues—primarily rules for carbon markets and other forms of international cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement—were meant to be resolved at COP25 in Chile/Madrid, but were not. These will need to be agreed at COP26, simultaneous to the Agreement being implemented for the first time.

Ratchet mechanism: A process within the Paris Agreement that is designed to increase its ambition and effectiveness over time with respect to its level of global emissions reductions. Signatories to the Agreement pledge to revisit their NDC every five years to see whether they are able to increase its ambition. The outcomes of the first round of ratcheting will be communicated at COP26.

State Party: A signatory to the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. Most Parties are nation states, though the EU jointly ratified the convention and submits a collective NDC. COP26 is the first summit at which the UK is due to have communicated an independent NDC.

UNFCCC: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Published: 26 November 2020 Site information    Accessibility statement