Glossary of Terms

Anthropomorphic Climate Change is a long-term change in average weather patterns of the Earth attributed to human activities with the onset of industrialization that have led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere; where these changes include a broad range of effects, such as extreme weather events.

Certainty of Abatement is a practice typically observed in climate policy planning which ensures that the policy tools employed for addressing climate change demonstrate certainty of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly important for R&D and technology fund programs where there is an innovative and new approach to reducing emissions.

Climate Adaptation refers to the strategies that enable us to adapt to the impacts of climate change by building resilient infrastructure and communities. This includes disaster management to prepare for coping with extreme weather events, dealing with an increased food insecurity, poverty and loss of biodiversity.

Climate Justice is a debate on equity and fairness in how climate change affects different communities and countries differently. It focuses on human rights and development to ensure climate change is addressed in a manner that safeguards the rights of the most vulnerable in our community and allows for sharing the benefits and burdens of climate change.

Climate Mitigation refers to the strategies that help eliminate the causes of climate change—either by eliminating the factors that add greenhouse gas emissions, such as reduction in the use of fossil fuels, or increasing carbon sinks that absorb the emissions, such as adding green spaces.

Climate Models are used to understand and project future climate conditions under different scenarios by studying the interaction of energy and matter in the climate system.

Climate Policy is the overall goal a government wants to achieve in tackling climate change and consequently, it sets in motion the creation of laws and regulations towards addressing climate change.

Demand refers to the quantity of goods and services that consumers are willing and able to purchase at different price points. Price is what a buyer pays for purchasing a unit of a given product or service.

Demand Curve plots the relationship between supply and demand in a graphical representation.

Equilibrium is the point in markets when the demand and supply curves meet, indicating the price and quantity point where consumers and suppliers are willing to exchange goods and services at.

Externality occurs when there is an external cost or benefit to a mutually consensual transaction between two parties in a free market. The transaction does not take into account these external costs or benefits and typically an outside third party bears the consequence of it.

Global Warming is an average increase in the Earth’s global surface temperature since the pre-industrial period caused by human activity, such as the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning.

Government Intervention is required when a market fails to deliver less than optimal or inefficient outcomes. This can be accomplished through various means, such as taxation, subsidies, price ceilings and so on.

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) are a group of gases that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere leading to the greenhouse effect -- warming of Earth’s surface and troposphere. Although there are many greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are considered the most important greenhouse gases.

Impact Assessment is the study of all possible impacts of undertaking a project, such as the economic, social, human-health, and environmental impacts caused as a result of implementing that project.

Market Failure is a situation where individuals acting out of self-interest which is a characteristic of a free market results in an inefficient distribution of goods and services in a market, resulting in less than optimal or inefficient outcomes, such as causing externalities.

Naturally Occurring Climate Change is the change in Earth’s climate caused by its natural climate cycle as understood from studying historical geological records. In the past the Earth’s climate changed due to natural factors such as solar influences, volcanoes, earth’s orbit and CO2 levels, however these changes occurred slowly over long periods of time, which is different from the rapidly occurring Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Negative Externality occurs when there is an external cost to a transaction between two parties in a free market. In this case, the effects of the external cost of the transaction are borne by external non-parties.

Positive Externality occurs when there is an external benefit to a transaction between two parties. In the case of a positive externality, external non-parties to the transaction enjoy the benefits of the transaction.

Quantity Demanded is the amount of goods or services that a consumer is willing to purchase at a particular price point.

Quantity Supplied is the amount of goods or services that a supplier is willing to sell at a particular price point.

Supply refers to the quantity of goods or services that a supplier is willing and able to supply at different price points. The amount a seller receives for selling a unit of a product or service is the price.

The Law of Demand defines the relationship between demand and supply. It states that when the price of a good or service increases, its demand decreases. Similarly, when the price of a good or service decreases, its demand increases.

Tragedy of the Commons refers to the dilemma of the overuse of limited natural resources shared by a group of individuals acting out of their self-interest. For example, consider a small group of farmers sharing a common land (i.e., ‘commons’) for grazing cows. Each farmer acts out of self-interest and adds more cows to graze the common land to receive benefit (i.e. milk from the cows). Even though the grass grows again to support the new cows grazing the land, over time the land will not sustain the grazing of too many cows as it does not grow back fast enough to support all the cows. Despite this, each farmer does not consider whether there is enough grass left behind for other farmers and only considers the individual benefit received from using the common land, leading to the tragedy of the commons.

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