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Adaptation: A process by which strategies to moderate, cope with, and take advantage of the consequences of climate events are enhanced, developed and implemented”.

Adaptive capacity: The ability of people and systems to adjust to climate change.

Carbon sinks/carbon sequestration: Carbon sinks are organic matter that allows storing or sequestration of carbon dioxide. Sinks include soils and biomass, particularly trees.

Certified Emission Reductions (CER): Reductions of greenhouse gases achieved by a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project – also referred to as CDM credits. CERs can be sold or counted towards industrialized countries’ reduction commitments. Reductions must be additional to any that would otherwise occur.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): One of the three flexible mechanisms established by the Kyoto Protocol. The instrument is flexible, because it allows industrialized countries to invest in emission reduction projects in developing countries with potential for cost-effective emission reductions (see box 5).

Climate Change: Any change in climate over time whether due to natural variability or because of human activity. Human activity leading to climate change primarily includes emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to less radiation of heat and global warming.

Climate Proofing: Actions to ensure that development efforts are protected from negative impacts of climate change, climate variability, and extreme weather events and to ensure that climate-friendly development strategies are pursued to delay and reduce damages caused by climate change.

Climate Variability: Reflects shorter-term extreme weather events, such as tropical hurricanes and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

Coping: The immediate actions in the face of an event or changes, and ability to maintain welfare (in contrast to adaptation, which refers to long-term adjustments to the framework within which coping takes place).

Disaster: A serious disruption of the functioning of a society, causing widespread human, material, or environmental losses. These may exceed the ability of the affected society to cope, using its own resources.

Extreme Event: Event departing markedly from the average values or trends, and that is exceptional. Mostly, the return period substantially exceeds 10 years.

Fuel Switching: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by switching from high-carbon to lower-carbon emitting energy sources, for example from coal to gas.

Global Warming: Human activity leading to climate change primarily includes emission of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide and methane) into the atmosphere, leading to less radiation of heat and global warming.

Greenhouse Gases: Principally carbon dioxide (CO2). Other gases are methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs), and sulphurhexafluoride (SF6).

Low-carbon Development Path: Climate-friendly energy policies with emphasis on renewable energy, clean energy, energy efficiency, and other measures to reduce reliance on fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas).

Mitigation: A human intervention to reduce or store anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases and thereby lessen climate change.

National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA): National Adaptation Programmes of Action are intended to communicate priority activities addressing the urgent and immediate needs and concerns of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), relating to adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.

National Communication: The requirement to prepare a national communication is stipulated in article 12 of the UNFCCC. Preparation of national communications is mandatory for all parties to the Climate Convention except for Least Developed Countries. Generally, national communications are prepared at intervals of 3-5 years and must include information such as inventories of emissions, policies and measures, and proposed projects for financing.

Precautionary Principle: As per Article 15 of the Rio Declaration (1992), “...where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation”.

Resilience: The amount of change a system can undergo without changing state.

Risks: The expected number of lives lost, persons injured, damage to capital stock, and disruption of economic activity due to a particular natural hazard. The expected losses are consequently the product of a specific risk.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): The international response to climate change, whose objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system – in this text referred to as the Climate Convention (see box 2).

Vulnerability: The combination of the sensitivity of people and natural systems to adverse socio-economic and environmental effects of climate change and the ability to cope with them.

This page forms part of the publication 'Danish Climate and Development Action Programme' as chapter 11 of 11

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