Climate change 

Climate change is the long-term shift in global weather patterns (different to local weather, which can change day to day). Scientists agree that humans are responsible for recent climate change, mainly by burning fossil fuels. This adds heat-trapping gases to the Earth's atmosphere – causing impacts like hotter temperatures, sea level rise, disappearing glaciers, and loss of life. 

In Glasgow, climate change will cause more intense flooding and heatwaves. Roads, bridges, rail lines, and public buildings in the city are at significant risk. Climate change will damage Glasgow's economy and deepen other inequalities by impacting more on the most vulnerable populations. 

Climate change adaptation 

Climate change adaptation is all the actions and solutions that a country, a region, a city or a community can develop and put in place to build more resilient societies and economies. It also involves responding to the impacts of climate change that are already happening or we expect to happen. These can include building flood defences or setting up early weather warning systems. Other solutions are redesigning communication systems, business operations and government policies. 

People around the world are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Without drastic action, adapting in the future will be more difficult and costly. Successful climate adaptation will involve organisations, businesses, communities and populations working together. 

Climate change mitigation 

Climate change mitigation tries to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases (which leads to more climate change). We can limit emissions using new technologies and renewable energies (including wind and solar power). We can also make older equipment more energy efficient and change what we buy, what we eat, and the way we travel. 

Climate Justice 

In the UK, climate justice refers to issues around the fact that climate change will have bigger impacts on more vulnerable people and places, and that any policy or response from decision makers needs to be fair to prepare for and protect people from these unequal impacts. One definition is: 

“Ensuring that collectively and individually we have the ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from climate change impacts – and the policies to mitigate or adapt to them – by considering existing vulnerabilities, resources and capabilities” 

Climate ready futures 

Future visions and plans for the economy, society and environment which are prepared for and continue to flourish in the face of the impacts arising from the climate crisis. 

Climate resilience 

Limiting our emissions of greenhouse gases will help avert the worst potential impacts of climate change, but some of these impacts are unavoidable due to past emissions. Climate resilience is the ability to understand climate vulnerabilities and future impacts. It is also anticipating, preparing for and responding to hazardous climate events. Improving climate resilience involves understanding of how climate change will create new climate-related risks and taking steps to better cope with these risks. 

Fossil fuels 

Coal, oil and natural gas are examples of fossil fuels that were created by decomposing animals and plants in the earth’s crust. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource that take millions of years to create; our supply of fossil fuels will eventually run out. The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which causes global heating. 

Greenhouse gases 

Greenhouse gases are gases in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat from the sun. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapour, ozone and methane. 

Greenhouse gas effect 

The greenhouse gas effect is when the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap the sun’s heat, making the earth warmer. Human activities are changing earth’s natural greenhouse gas effect by burning fossil fuels. Too many greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere trap more and more heat from the sun, increasing the earth’s temperature. 

Net-zero emissions 

Net-zero emissions tries to restore the Earth’s natural greenhouse gas balance by stopping new carbon dioxide emissions and absorbing existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To meet a goal of net-zero, any new greenhouse gas emissions must be as low as possible. These have to be offset by a process that reduces greenhouses gases in the atmosphere (such as planting trees). 

Scotland net-zero emissions 

Scotland set a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gasses by 2040 in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019. 

Seed funding 

This is initial funding that an organisation or business receives that it can use to begin operating or to launch a specific project, with the intention of supporting the organisation or business for a fixed amount of time while longer-term funding is secured.  

Systemic change / Transformational change 

A system is a set of connected things that operate together. The world is made up of systems. There are lots of connections and interactions between many parts of these systems, which means a change in one system can have wider consequences.  

Climate change can affect many systems all at once, so we need to change how we take action to reduce these impacts. We can make changes to more than one part of a system to create a different system in the future. This type of action is called systemic or transformational change.