There is an indomitable alphabet soup of acronyms out there. These are the must-knows, with a sprinkling of nice-to-knows. We’ve put them in the order in which they were established – rather than alphabetical – as we think that tells a little story in itself.
A fancy name for basically the countries (parties) that come together for talks and then (fingers crossed) sign agreements or commit to stuff (with meaning).– COP
It’s raison d’etre is to stabilise greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and therefore limit all the naughty things human activity does to the planet and the climate.– UNFCCC
The UNPRI is an international network of investors that promotes sustainable investment through the adoption of six principles for incorporating ESG factors.– UNPRI
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
In 1988, as concern and research around global warming grew, the UN formed a body to keep an eye on the situation. That body, the IPCC, was tasked with delivering regular assessments of the science on climate change in order to inform policymakers and offer them solutions. It’s an intergovernmental organisation, with 195 member countries, and is considered the global authority on climate science. Its headline reports, issued every 6-7 years, are compiled and peer reviewed by thousands of scientists globally, with tens of thousands of comments worked through.
United National Framework Convention on Climate Change
Conceived in Rio in 1992 and officially born in Bonn in 1994. It’s raison d’etre is to stabilise greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and therefore limit all the naughty things human activity does to the planet and the climate. It was basically a treaty that said ‘we’ll do something about it.’ The first proper thing that came out of it was the Kyoto Protocol, which of course was then superseded by Paris.
Conference of the Parties
A fancy name for basically the countries (parties) that come together for talks and then (fingers crossed) sign agreements or commit to stuff (with meaning). For almost three decades the UN has hosted these global climate summits. COP26 is the 26th annual summit and, as with previous summits, will attract representatives from nearly every country on Earth to engage in efforts to reach agreement on how to address climate change.
Just to help the situation, there are also other COPs – for example COP15 in October 2021 on biodiversity.
United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment
The UNPRI is an international network of investors that promotes sustainable investment through the adoption of six principles for incorporating ESG factors. Signatories to the principles agree to act in the best interests of investors, as well as broader society.
EU Emissions Trading Scheme
The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme was launched in 2005 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. It operates as a ‘cap and trade’ system where installations buy or receive emissions allowances, and can trade these with one another. Those that cannot cover their emissions with allowances face big fines, while the cap is reduced over time so that total emissions continue to fall.
Financial Stability Board
Set up in 2009 after the financial crisis to help make financial things, well, more stable. It analyses the global financial system and makes recommendations to improve its stability. It published its roadmap for addressing climate related financial risk in July 2021, outlining that firms and systems need frameworks to build a green economy. The roadmap’s goal is that all financial risk decisions appropriately take account of climate change.
Nationally Defined Contribution
The Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty negotiated at COP21, set out a number of global targets for combating climate change. NDCs are national plans, policies and measures that governments will implement as part of their country’s contribution towards these targets.
Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance
A group of some of the world’s most forward-thinking cities, who are getting aggressive on greenhouse gas emissions. The 22 cities, from Adelaide and Amsterdam to Washington and Yokohama, recognise the journey to carbon neutrality requires radical action and have committed to reducing emissions by 80% or more by 2050 or sooner.
Sustainable Development Goals
The SDGs are a set of 17 interlinked goals developed by the UN General Assembly to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the world’s population. Including ambitions such as ‘No poverty’, ‘Zero hunger’,’ Quality education’ and ‘Gender equality’, they are part of a 15 year plan intended to be achieved by 2030.
Ocean Risk & Reliance Action Alliance
The ORRAA is about getting money into natural capital solutions (mangroves, saltmarshes, dunes etc.) that help protect our coasts and marine environments. It’s a joint effort by governments, financial institutions, insurers and environmentalists and they aim to get $500million into action before 2030. Part of that focus includes coming up with new financial products to help channel the investment.