Glossary: Topics

Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Removal

Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Removal  is a broad family of technologies and approaches used to capture, use, or permanently store or remove carbon dioxide (CO2) resulting from human activity.

Climate change

A change in climate patterns apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards attributed largely to the increased levels of carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels, with a series of regional and global impacts posing increasing threats to humanity and the planet, and prompting increasing calls for aggressive climate change mitigation.

Comfort and wellbeing

Concerns around achieving and maintaining socially desirable levels of comfort and wellbeing through the use of energy to create healthy indoor living environments conducive of conducting routine everyday practices in an unthinking manner.

Community energy

Community energy covers aspects of collective action to reduce, purchase, manage and generate energy. Community energy projects have an emphasis on local engagement, local leadership and control, and the local community benefiting collectively from the outcome

Decarbonisation/ Net Zero

The transition to an economic system that sustainably reduces and compensates the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂). The long-term goal is to create a CO₂-free (net zero) global economy.

Domestic energy behaviours & practices

Instrumental and routine activities and behaviours of everyday living  (e.g. laundering, cooking, cleaning, etc.) that involve the use of energy-consuming devices and appliances.

Domestic energy production

A process whereby a domestic consumer takes over some of the activities previously performed by an energy producer/ provider, usually by directly involving themselves in the production of energy through domestic renewable sources.

Energy & carbon markets

Marketplaces through which regulated entities or individuals either: (a) buy and sell energy, or (b) trade emissions permits (allowances) or offsets in order to meet predetermined regulatory targets.

Energy & climate futures

Concerns and visions around the future production, distribution and use of energy and its associated climatic impacts.

Energy demand & efficiency

The consumption of energy for human activities, and associated attempts to reduce energy use in everyday life through the adoption of novel and efficient technologies.

Energy democracy

Concerns around or efforts to democratize the production and management of energy resources – including the social ownership of energy infrastructure, decentralization of energy systems, and expansion of public participation in energy-related policymaking.

Energy infrastructures

Energy generation, transmission, distribution, and management systems that are essential to all infrastructures and every aspect of the economy given high levels of interconnection.

Energy justice

Energy justice is a concept that tries to combat injustices within energy systems. It is based upon the idea that justice principles should be applied to anything energy-related, whether it be extraction, production, consumption, activism, security, or climate change.

Environmental protection

Concerns around the broader environmental and landscape impacts of energy – including concerns over the impacts of energy infrastructures on local landscapes and ecosystems, and of unsustainable energy use.

Fossil fuels and fracking

Any of a class of hydrocarbon-containing materials of biological origin occurring within Earth’s crust (e.g. coal, petroleum, natural gas, oil shales, bitumens, tar sands, and heavy oils) that are extracted using a variety of techniques (e.g. fracking, offshore drilling, mining, etc.) and are subsequently used as a source of energy.

Fuel/ energy poverty and affordability

A state where individuals struggle to meet the required fuel/energy costs of their household. Extreme cases of energy poverty are defined as those where household energy costs are well above the national median level, and where householders would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line if they were to spend that amount of money on energy and fuel.


The deliberate large-scale manipulation of an environmental process that affects the earth’s climate, in an attempt to counteract the effects of climate change. Can include Solar Radiation Management and Greenhouse Gas Removal.

Heating & cooling

Use of equipment or devices (e.g. central heating, air-conditioning, etc.) to mechanically adjust the temperatures in a building.

Home renovation

The process of upgrading, improving or retrofitting outdated homes that typically involves both aesthetic updates, as well as employing one or more energy-efficiency measures  to maximize occupant comfort and reduce energy use.

Low carbon homes

Homes with reduced greenhouse gas emissions following significant investement in smart, low carbon, or energy efficiency technologies.


The energy released during nuclear fission or fusion, especially when used to generate electricity.


Energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind, solar, wave, tidal, or geothermal power.

Smart grids and technologies

Devices or systems using information and communication technology (ICT) and controls to enable optimal network control, optimal use of energy or equipment, increased quality and reliability of power supply, facilitation of the integration of renewable energy sources, optimal planning of the transmission and distribution systems, and the development of the use of distributed generation.

Social and economic change

Drawing on ideas from a diverse range of lines of thought such as environmental sciences, political ecology, ecological economics, feminist political ecology, and environmental justice, proponents of social and economic change point to the social and ecological harm caused by the pursuit of infinite economic growth in fossil-fuel dominated economy, and put forth radically alternative visions of society.

Sustainability & biodiversity

Concerns around the state of the environment, principally in relation to the depletion of natural resources, and the decline in the number, genetic variability, and variety of species, and the biological communities in a given area.

Sustainable living

Sustainable living is the practice of making conscious lifestyle choices that reduce a person’s impact on the environment. Individuals who embrace sustainable living philosophies aim to reduce their everyday carbon footprint and conserve Earth’s resources.

Transport and mobility

The movement of people or goods using a diverse array of means (e.g. private car, public transport, shipping, aviation, cycling, road transport, etc.) that are variably sustainable.