Deciphering UN climate talks jargon

Decades of climate talks have spawned dozens of acronyms and jargon.


UNFCCC - The United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international treaty agreed in 1992. Its aim is to prevent dangerous human interference with the world's climate system. The 195 countries that have ratified the convention are called Parties to the Convention.

COP21 - The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme body of the UNFCCC. Its first meeting was in Berlin in 1995. The COP's 21st annual meeting will be held in Paris. This year's meeting aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2C over pre-industrial times.

ADP - The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Advanced Action is a subsidiary body, created in 2011. It is tasked with developing a new climate agreement to be adopted in 2015 and enter into force from 2020.

LOSS AND DAMAGE - Governments have agreed to address loss and damage caused by climate change in developing countries. The subject has often been linked to liability and compensation, which causes heated debate between developing and developed countries.

MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION - Mitigation refers to human activities to reduce the sources of emissions or to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Adaptation refers to measures taken to adapt to the effects of climate change.

INDCs - In preparation for COP21, countries have to publicly outline what climate actions they intend to take after 2020 under a new global deal. These plans are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.

ANNEX 1, ANNEX 2, NON-ANNEX 1 - Annex 1 parties are countries which were considered to be wealthy industrialised nations in 1992 and therefore more responsible for greenhouse gas emissions historically. Annex 2 countries are OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) members of Annex 1. Non-Annex 1 parties are mostly developing countries.

LULUCF - Stands for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry. Refers to the impact of land use, deforestation and creating new forests on emissions.

NGOs - Non-governmental organisations. Includes environmental groups, research groups, business groups and local government associations. Many attend climate talks as observers. To be accredited to attend meetings, NGOs must be non-profit.

AOSIS, LDC, UMBRELLA - These are just some of the acronyms for coalitions of countries which have similar goals in the talks, including the Alliance of Small Island States. For a breakdown, go to:


3 min read
Published 27 November 2015 at 11:12am
Source: AAP