Anaerobic: in the absence of oxygen.
Asthmatics: people who have asthma, a respiratory disease, causing breathing difficulties.
Atom: the smallest part of a chemical element that can take part in a reaction.
Biogas: a gas produced by the action of bacteria on organic matter.
Brundtland Report: a report by Gro Harlem Brundtland of the United Nations, outlining the actions needed to be taken for sustainable development to be achieved globally.
Carbon dioxide: a molecule formed from one atom of carbon and two of oxygen. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas of major concern in the study of global warming.
Concentration: a measure of the atmospheric content of a gas, defined in terms of the proportion of the total volume that it accounts for.
Continental margins: part of the Earth's crust at the edges of continents.
Developing country: a poor country that is seeking to develop its resources by becoming industrialised. Previously known as a Third World country
Ecosystem: a system involving the interaction between a community of plants and animals and its non-living environment.
Fast reactors: used in nuclear energy production.
Fission: the splitting of atoms, for example of uranium to generate nuclear energy.
Fossil fuels: any hydrocarbon deposit that can be burnt to produce heat and power.
Global warming: the recent and projected increase in temperature at the Earth's surface.
Greenhouse gases: gases that trap heat energy in the atmosphere.
Hydrocarbon: an organic substance containing carbon and hydrogen.
Industrial Revolution: the rapid growth of industry seen in Britain and subsequently the rest of the developed world in the late 18th and
Kilowatts (kW): one thousand watts. A Watt is a unit of power.
Methane: a greenhouse gas consisting of 4 molecules of hydrogen and one of carbon.
Micro-organism: an organism, such as a bacterium, protozoa or virus, of microscopic size.
Municipal solid waste combustion: the burning of waste collected from homes for energy production.
Neutron: a particle found in the nucleus of an atom.
Nitrous oxide: a colourless, non-flammable, slightly soluble gas containing nitrogen.
Nitric acid: a component of acid rain formed when nitrogen and oxygen pollution mixes with moisture in the air.
Non-renewable: a finite resource, such as coal and oil.
Nucleus: the core of an atom, consisting of neutrons and protons. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx): compounds of oxygen and nitrogen. Photosynthesis: the generation of food resources and energy by
plants utilising sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
Plutonium: a highly toxic and radioactive metal.
Pollutants: substances that cause harm or damage to the environment.
Radioactive: a material emitting radiation from an atomic nucleus.
Renewables: energy sources which will not run out, e.g. wind power, solar power.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2): a colourless gas, consisting of molecules of sulphur (1) and oxygen (2) atoms, it is given off during the burning of fossil fuels.
Sulphuric acid: a component of acid rain formed when sulphur dioxide pollution mixes with moisture in air.
Terrestrial radiation: radiation or energy released from the Earth once it has been received by the Sun.
Tonne: a unit of mass equal to 1000 kg.
Troposphere: the lowest layer of the atmosphere, about 18km thick.
Uranium: a silvery-white metallic element that is radioactive.
Vitrification: the conversion of a substance to a glassy substance.
Energy Report UK Glossary