Digital Vision: COP26


Lexicon of COP26 terms and phrases


From Carbon offsetting to TCFD, our lexicon gives you the A-Z on net zero.

Annex I countries

The industrialised countries (and countries in transition to a market economy) which took on obligations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Their combined emissions, averaged out during the 2008-2012 period, should be 5.2% below 1990 levels.2

Annex II

Countries which have a special obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to provide financial resources and transfer technology to developing countries. This group is a sub-section of the Annex I countries, excluding those that, in 1992, were in transition from centrally planned to a free market economy.3

Carbon footprint

The amount of carbon emitted by an individual or organisation in a given period of time, or the amount of carbon emitted during the manufacture of a product.4

Carbon neutral

A process where there is no net release of CO2. For example, growing biomass takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, while burning it releases the gas again. The process would be carbon neutral if the amount taken out and the amount released were identical. A company or country can also achieve carbon neutrality by means of carbon offsetting.5

Carbon offsetting

A way of compensating for emissions of CO2 by participating in, or funding, efforts to take CO2 out of the atmosphere. Offsetting often involves paying another party, somewhere else, to save emissions equivalent to those produced by your activity.6

Clean Energy

Clean energy is energy that comes from renewable, zero emission sources that do not pollute the atmosphere when used, as well as energy saved by energy efficiency measures.21


Conference of the Parties. The supreme body of the Convention. It currently meets once a year to review the Convention’s progress. The word “conference” is not used here in the sense of “meeting” but rather of “association”. The “Conference” meets in sessional periods, for example, the “fourth session of the Conference of the Parties.”17


The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. It is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow from 1 to 12 November 2021 under the presidency of the United Kingdom10

Digital Twin

A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data, and uses simulation, machine learning and reasoning to help decision-making.19


The release of a substance (usually a gas when referring to the subject of climate change) into the atmosphere.15


A processing benchmark in supercomputing referring to systems that can perform a quintillion calculations per second.

Flexible mechanism

Instruments that help countries and companies meet emission reduction targets by paying others to reduce emissions for them. The mechanism in widest use is emissions trading, where companies or countries buy and sell permits to pollute. The Kyoto Protocol establishes two flexible mechanisms enabling rich countries to fund emission reduction projects in developing countries – Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).7

Fossil fuels

Natural resources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, containing hydrocarbons. These fuels are formed in the Earth over millions of years and produce carbon dioxide when burnt.8

Green Finance

Green finance is any structured financial activity that’s been created to ensure a better environmental outcome.23


High Performance Computing most generally refers to the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation in order to solve large problems in science, engineering, or business.20


To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the Paris Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit by 2020 long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS). LT-LEDS provide the long-term horizon to the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory. Nevertheless, they place the NDCs into the context of countries’ long-term planning and development priorities, providing a vision and direction for future development.13


NDCs are national climate plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets, policies and measures governments aims to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to global climate action. Central to the NDCs is the concept of national determination.12

Net Zero

Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. We reach net zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away.1

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.11


Prepatory meeting held around 1 month before COP26 – allowing participants to set up and discuss political aspects of the forthcoming negotiations. This year held in Milan.

Pre-industrial levels

Referring to emissions levels prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C uses the reference period 1850–1900 to represent pre-industrial temperature18

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy created from sources that can be replenished in a short period of time. The five renewable sources used most often are: biomass (such as wood and biogas), the movement of water, geothermal (heat from within the earth), wind, and solar.9

Smart City

Smart cities put data and digital technology to work to make better decisions and improve the quality of life. More comprehensive, real-time data gives agencies the ability to watch events as they unfold, understand how demand patterns are changing, and respond with faster and lower-cost solutions.22


Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures; Financial markets need clear, comprehensive, high-quality information on the impacts of climate change. This includes the risks and opportunities presented by rising temperatures, climate-related policy, and emerging technologies in our changing world. The Financial Stability Board created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information.14


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with 189 countries having ratified.16



Related Resources

Opinion Paper

The Digital Vision: COP26 report

Bringing together contributions from Atos global experts and leading thinkers from other major industry organisations and leadership bodies.

Infographic #1

Global decarbonization by numbers

Decarbonization is one of the most urgent global priorities. Here are some key facts and stats on the scale of the challenge and the response so far.

Infographic #2

Global action on climate change

Since 2010, Atos has been supporting organisations and communities all over the world to live and work more sustainably

Kulveer Ranger, SVP Strategy & Communications UK&I