Glossary: Topics

Behaviours & practices

Instrumental and routine activities and behaviours of everyday living.

Carbon Capture & Storage

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a three-step process of reducing carbon emissions involving: (a) capturing the carbon dioxide produced by power generation or industrial activity; (b) transporting it; and (c) then storing it deep underground.

Climate adaptation & natural hazards

Adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and extreme natural events and their effects or impacts.

Climate change

A change in global and regional climate patterns apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Decarbonisation

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.

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.

Economic change

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

Energy & carbon markets

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

Energy & climate futures

Concerns 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.

Fossil fuels

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

A state where the required fuel/energy costs of a household are 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.

Geoengineering

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.

Infrastructures & systems

Generation, transmission, distribution, and management systems that are essential to all infrastructures and every aspect of the economy.

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 production, consumption, activism, security, or climate change.

Low carbon homes

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

Nuclear power

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

Policy and planning

Guidelines, sets of principles, or plans guiding the course of action of an authotity, usually the national or local government.

Renewable energy

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

Smart technologies

Devices or systems using information and communication technology (ICT) and controls to enable optimal network control, optimal use of 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.

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.

Transport and mobility

The movement of people or goods using a variety of means (e.g. public transport, shipping, aviation, cycling, road transport, etc.)