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All about climate change, Kyoto Protocol and stem cells

In recent usage, the term "climate change" is often used to refer only to the ongoing changes in modern climate.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 15:37 IST

Climate Change

Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's global climate or regional climates over time. These changes may come from internal processes, be driven by external forces or, most recently, be caused by human activities.

In recent usage, the term "climate change" is often used to refer only to the ongoing changes in modern climate, including the average rise in global warming.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

A Kyoto Protocol programme that enables industrialised countries to finance emissions-avoiding projects in developing countries and receive credit for reductions achieved against their own emissions limitation targets.

Global warming

The rise in global temperature that may have catastrophic consequences for life on Earth.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement setting targets for industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

These gases are considered at least partly responsible for global warming. The treaty came into force on February 16, 2005.

Stem cell

A stem cell is a "generic" cell that can make exact copies of itself indefinitely. In addition, a stem cell has the ability to produce specialized cells for various tissues in the body -- such as heart muscle, brain tissue, and liver tissue. Scientists are able to maintain stem cells forever, developing them into specialised cells as needed.

Two basic types:

Embryonic stem cells - these are obtained from either aborted foetuses or fertilized eggs and are useful in research.

Adult stem cells - these are not as versatile for research purposes because they are specific to certain cell types.

Stem cell research and its potential

There are many areas in medicine where stem cell research could have a significant impact. Stem cells may be able to generate brand new tissue in cases of injury and even cure diseases.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 21:51 IST