Practical guide: Know the terms of COP21

Practical guide: Know the terms of COP21

The terminology to be used during COP21 will be tricky, especially for journalists covering a climate summit for the first time. To facilitate journalistic notes, ConexionCOP explains the 15 terms that will be heard the most at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP21), an international summit of negotiations that will take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11, and in which is expected to achieve a new global agreement on climate change.

Here are the words that will be used the most:

Climate change: Climate change attributed directly or indirectly to human activities that alter the composition of the world's atmosphere.

UNFCCC (UNFCCC in English): United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was adopted in New York in 1992. Its objective is "to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

The Parties (Parties in English): Member countries of the UNFCCC. There are 195 countries, and 196 “Parties”, since the European Union is counted as an additional Party to its 28 member countries.

GHG (Greenhouse Gases): Gases whose presence in the atmosphere contributes to the greenhouse effect. The most important ones are present in the atmosphere naturally, although their concentration can be modified by human activity.

Fossil fuels: Mainly oil, gas and coal. When they are burned for energy, greenhouse gases are released.

Fifth IPCC report: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of the United Nations founded in 1988 and made up of hundreds of experts. In 2014, it published its Fifth Assessment Report on climate change, which serves as a scientific reference in the negotiations

ADP: Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, or simply the Durban Platform. It is the group in charge of the negotiations of the new global climate agreement. It was created in 2011, during COP17 in the city of Durban (South Africa).

The 2 ° C goal: The countries agreed as an objective to keep the global warming of the planet below 2 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels (that is, before 1880). This goal is being discussed by a group of countries, which proposes to aim for 1.5 ° C to avoid serious climatic risks on the planet. Today, global warming already reaches 0.85 ° C.

Mitigation: Reduction of GHG emissions.

Adaptation: Measures by which countries can adapt to the effects of climate change that are already manifesting themselves, for example in Latin America: deglaciation, floods or extreme droughts.

Loss and Damage: Effects of climate change that one cannot adapt to, such as extreme natural events or rising sea levels on the Caribbean islands.

INDC: Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or simply National Contributions or National Climate Commitments. They are GHG reduction commitments that each country presents voluntarily, according to its realities. They may also include adaptation actions, among other topics.

Business as usual (BAU): Scenario “if everything remains the same”, that is, in which mitigation measures would not be implemented.

FVC (GCF in English): Green Climate Fund. It was created to support developing countries in the implementation of their mitigation and adaptation plans. Developed countries pledged to contribute $ 100 million annually from 2020.

Annex 1 versus Non-Annex 1: The first group, “Annex 1 ?, is made up of developed countries that have adopted GHG reduction commitments in the Kyoto Protocol, and the second“ No Annex 1? These are the developing countries that, for this reason, have not assumed obligations to reduce emissions but that contribute to the objective of the Protocol by hosting activities in their territories that reduce and absorb amounts of GHG in the atmosphere.

Agreement: As Nature Interior explains, the new climate agreement will come into effect from 2020 and is expected to bring about a great change in the way humanity uses fossil fuels frantically. This agreement seeks to curb the increase in temperature on the planet, orient our world societies to the sustainable use of resources, to achieve a "decarbonization" of the economy, and billions of dollars in investment in positive climate actions. The agreement is expected to be approved by the 195 countries of the UNFCCC by the end of COP21. During the summit, the legal form that the document will take will be discussed.

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COP connection

Video: France: World leaders from more than 150 countries gather at COP21 (May 2021).