Climate Change for Beginners

Recent Event

The COP26 summit is about climate change and how countries are planning to tackle it. COP26 is now taking place in Glasgow between 31st October and 12th November 2021 and any decisions made could lead to big changes to our everyday lives.

COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and will be attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994.

Why do we need COP?

The world is getting warmer because of fossil fuel emissions caused by humans. Icecaps are melting and sea levels are rising. We are seeing more extreme weather events taking place around the world – including heatwaves, floods and forest fires, these naturally occurring events are being made worse because of the effects of climate change.

The past decade was the warmest on record, and governments around the world agree that urgent action is needed to help countries pollute less and take responsible actions toward managing climate change.

Procedural Opening of the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021.


Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that action on climate change must match the rhetoric, as he appeared at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow. The Taoiseach joined other world leaders at the climate conference in Scotland, where he took the opportunity to defend Ireland’s own record on climate action.

The Irish government is preparing to publish the Climate Action Plan, which will provide greater detail on how the country plans to drastically cut carbon emissions over the next decade.

Starting Here!

This is a good starting point for understanding more – An Irish government website focusing on climate jargon was developed in collaboration with a group of young people from Comhairle na nÓg. In simple terms, the website provides plain English explanations for common climate terms.

The website is designed to be of assistance to anyone looking to understand the language used in relation to climate change and climate action. 

The project was devised following feedback received from young people during 2020 about the complexity of the terminology associated with climate science and policy and how it creates barriers to participation and engagement.

The Project

With this feedback in mind, a subgroup of the Comhairle na nOg National Executive was established. This group of young people worked on the project over several months in 2020. They attended virtual meetings and workshops and provided continuous feedback on all aspects of the Project. 

They helped choose the terms that needed to be explained, helped make sure the explanations were understandable and inputted into the design of the website.

Department of the Taoiseach worked with Environmental Protection Agency, SEAI and Met Eireann to develop the explanations for each of the terms. In order to make the website a reality.

The interactive and accessible website went live in the first half of 2021 and enables users to search or browse terms in several ways. It also carries the National Adult Literacy Agency’s plain English mark in recognition of its use of plain language throughout. 

In launching the website, the Taoiseach, Micheál Martin thanked all involved in the development and said “Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our planet, but the language around it is complex and not easy to understand. This website is a practical and useful resource that will help people gain a greater understanding of climate action.”

Climate Jargon Buster Website Image

Minister Roderic O’Gorman TD for Dublin West and spokesperson for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth said: “Young people have led the way on climate action, and I want to ensure that they continue to be centrally involved in our response to climate change. The project shows the value of collaborating with young people, and I hope it will be of use to everyone with an interest in protecting our environment.”

It is intended to update the website regularly to include additional and news terms related to Climate Change.

The website features include three ways in which terms can be searched:

  • Entering term in search box
  • Browsing by sector
  • Download the full list in A-Z format.

The website also includes a short “Jargon Buster” quiz that asks readers to test their climate jargon knowledge.

You can visit the website and please share the link with family, friends, at work and at school! Enjoy!

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