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Explainer: From Paris To Glasgow – Cutting Through Climate Jargon

Here is a guide to common terms used in reference to the COP26

Explainer: From Paris To Glasgow - Cutting Through Climate Jargon
COP26 will be held from October 31 – November 12 in UK’s Glasgow with member countries coming together to discuss climate change
  • COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’
  • UK’s Glasgow will be the host for COP26
  • NDCs are the pledges that each country makes to reduce its emissions

Representatives from nearly 200 countries meet in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12 to flesh out the rules of a new global climate pact. Decades of climate talks have spawned a host of acronyms and jargon. Here is a guide:

Paris Agreement

Successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the international climate treaty that expired in 2020.

Agreed in December 2015, the Paris Agreement aims to limit the rise in the average global surface temperature.

To do this, countries that signed the accord set national pledges to reduce humanity’s effect on the climate that are meant to become more ambitious over time.

Greenhouse Gases

The carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, diesel, gasoline or petrol, kerosene and natural gas is the main “greenhouse gas” responsible for warming the Earth’s atmosphere.

But there are others such as methane, which is produced by cows and waste dumps, that are much more potent than CO2 but much shorter-lived in the atmosphere.

1.5 Degrees

The Paris accord legally bound its signatories collectively to limit greenhouse gas emissions to keep the temperature rise “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) this century.

But the countries also promised to “pursue efforts” to keep the rise below 1.5C (2.7F), which scientists say would help to avert some of the most catastrophic effects.

Soberingly, the world has already heated up by just over 1C since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Even if all the pledges made so far are delivered, it is still on track for an average rise of 2.7C this century, a United Nations report said.

Also Read: Global Climate Conversation: Key Moments From Decades Of Climate Conferences


The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), made up of representatives from each country that signed the Paris Agreement and which meets every year.

COP26, the 26th annual meeting, is being held under a British presidency, albeit a year late because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationally Determined Contributions

NDCs are the pledges that each country makes to reduce its emissions and adapt to climate change from 2020 onward.

Countries have to update and expand their NDCs every five years. All signatories have submitted new pledges for Glasgow.

In sum, they are nowhere near enough, and a main aim of the conference is to use the negotiation process to increase them.

‘Just Transition’

The term used to describe a shift to a low-carbon economy that keeps the social and economic disruption of moving away from fossil fuels to a minimum while maximising the benefits for workers, communities and consumers.

Climate Finance

Richer countries agreed in 2009 to contribute $100 billion together each year by 2020 to help poorer countries adapt their economies and lessen the impact of rising seas, or more severe and frequent storms and droughts.

In 2015 they agreed to extend this goal through to 2025, but the target has yet to be met.

To put things in perspective, a U.S. Energy Department official estimated that the United States alone needs to invest $1 trillion a year to meet its new climate targets.

Also Read: Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High In 2020 Despite Pandemic: Report


The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR), was enshrined in the Kyoto accord.

It says that developed countries, which produced more emissions in the past as they built their economies, should take the lead in fighting climate change.

The issue is always one of the most thorny in climate talks.

The Paris Agreement sought to bind major rapidly developing economies such as China and Brazil into the global effort to cut emissions, adding the words “in light of different national circumstances”. It does not, however, require them to make any immediate pledges to cut their emissions.

‘Loss And Damage’

Although richer countries have agreed to provide them with funding to address the impact of climate change, poorer countries continue to press for an agreed basis to assess liability for the losses and damage caused by climate change, and calculate compensation.

Also Read: India’s 450GW Renewable Energy Goal By 2030 Doable: US Official

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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