Climate Change : Glossary

There are 65 documents in this section.

  • Environment

    23 May 2002

    A combination of the various physical and biological elements that affect the life of an organism. Although it is common to refer to 'the' environment, there are in fact many environments eg, aquatic or terrestrial, microscopic to global, all capable of change in time and place, but all intimately linked and in combination constituting the whole earth/atmosphere system.

  • Development

    23 May 2002

    A process of economic and social transformation that defies simple definition. Though often viewed as a strictly economic process involving growth and diversification of a country's economy, development is a qualitative concept that entails complex social, cultural, and environmental changes. There are many models of what 'development' should look like and many different standards of what constitutes 'success'.

  • Environmentally-sound

    23 May 2002

    The maintenance of a healthy environment and the protection of life-sustaining ecological processes. It is based on thorough knowledge and requires or will result in products, manufacturing processes, developments, etc. which are in harmony with essential ecological processes and human health.

  • World Commission on Environment and Development

    23 May 2002

    Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1983 to examine international and global environmental problems and to propose strategies for sustainable development. Chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, the independent commission held meetings and public hearing around the world and submitted a report on its inquiry to the General Assembly in 1987.

  • Sustainable development

    23 May 2002

    Sustainable development has as many definitions as subscribers. In essence, it refers to economic development that meets the needs of all without leaving future generations with fewer natural resources than those we enjoy today. It is widely accepted that achieving sustainable development requires balance between three dimensions of complementary change:

    • Economic (towards sustainable patterns of production and consumption)

    • Ecological (towards maintenance and restoration of healthy ecosystems)

    • Social (towards poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods)

  • World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

    23 May 2002

    The World Summit on Sustainable Development takes place from 26 August - 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Governments, UN agencies, and civil society organisations will come together to assess progress since the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio in 1992 (hence the title 'Rio + 10' for the Johannesburg meeting).

    Sustainable development is defined in the report from the Rio meeting as being 'economic progress which meets all of our needs without leaving future generations with fewer resources than those we enjoy'.

  • Industrial revolution

    26 September 2001

    A historical transition that began in England in the eighteenth century, when the use of coal both in steam engines and for iron smelting enormously increased industrial output. Industrial technologies and the use of fossil fuels quickly spread to other nations, generated unprecedented industrial growth, and changed fundamentally the human use of resources and impact on the local and global environment.

  • Industrialization

    26 September 2001

    A development path based on expanding a country's capacity to process raw materials and manufacture products for consumers, businesses, and export. This approach to development, first seen in northern Europe in the Industrial Revolution typically entails heavy financial investment in factories and power plants and a rapidly growing demand for energy, particularly fossil fuels.

  • Montreal Ozone Agreement

    26 September 2001

    An agreement signed by 24 nations in 1987 (and since then endorsed by more than 30 others), that set a timetable for the reduction of chlorofluocarbon and halon production levels by 50 per cent by the year 2000 to control damage to the ozone layer. The Montreal Ozone Agreement is considered a model of the global environmental diplomacy needed to address the more complex issue of the greenhouse effect.

  • Ozone

    26 September 2001

    An unstable and chemically-reactive gas containing three oxygen atoms, formed at high altitudes by the action of sunlight on molecular oxygen. Present at low concentration in the stratosphere, ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun and reduces the amount of this damaging radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. Ozone is also formed at ground level - by the interaction of sunlight with exhaust gases from automobiles and industry, and by the action of sunlight on nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons-where it is a primary component of smog that aggravates breathing problems and damages plants.