Climate Vocabulary: 20 Words You Need to Know to Understand Climate Change

Attempting to comprehend the climate catastrophe can be overwhelming at first. If you don’t follow every advancement every day, it can feel like there’s a lot to learn and understand. The good news is that it all boils down to one simple fact: huge amount of burning of fossil fuels causes global temperatures to rise, throwing our climate out of balance and unleashing a slew of disastrous consequences. Of course, there’s more to it than that. So we’ve put together a quick glossary of crucial terminology to help you understand what’s going on with our planet – and what you can do to help.

Get these terms down and you’ll see the big picture of how we got here and how we’re going to fix the situation 👇🏾

Acid rainrain containing hazardous compounds (when fossil fuels are burned) that collects in the atmosphere
Adaptationaction that aids in coping with the effects of climate change, such as the installation of barriers to defend against increasing sea levels or the conversion to drought-resistant crops.
Atmospherea layer of air surrounding the earth that protects us from the sun’s harmful rays
Biofuela fuel derived from renewable biological sources, such as maize and sugar cane crops, as well as some types of garbage
Carbon dioxide (CO2)a gas that is released when carbon is burned (for example, coal or oil), or when people or animals exhale
Conservationthe conservation and protection of natural resources and habitats
Deforestationthe removal of a forest (or a stand of trees) from land for non-forest use, such as farming, ranches, or urban development
Fossil fuelsnatural resources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, that produce carbon dioxide on burning
Global warminghigher air and sea temperatures partly caused by man-made increases in greenhouse-gas levels
Greenhouse gasesgases that trap heat and warm the surface – natural (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane) and industrial (perfluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and sulphur hexafluoride)
Habitatthe place in which a species normally lives
Hazardous wastedangerous substances that need careful disposal (eg. toxic or nuclear waste)
Methane (CH4)the second most important man-made greenhouse gas
Pesticidea chemical that’s sprayed on crops to stop insects from destroying them
Pollutioncontamination of the environment, particularly due to industrial waste products and chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides
Renewable energyenergy created from sources that can be replenished in a short period of time. The five renewable sources used most often are: biomass (such as wood and biogas), the movement of water, geothermal (heat from within the earth), wind, and solar.
Solar radiationenergy generated by the Sun and mostly filtered through the earth’s atmosphere
Smoga thick dirty cloud at ground level caused by pollutants reacting to sunlight
Toxin/toxica poisonous substance that damages health or the environment
UNFCCCThe United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – an international environmental treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by balancing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere

One response to “Climate Vocabulary: 20 Words You Need to Know to Understand Climate Change”

  1. Incredible to battle the climate crisis. Thank you 😊🌍


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