Climate change adaptation

What is climate change adaptation?

Climate change adaptation refers to the adjustments that societies or ecosystems make in response to or in anticipation of changes caused by climate change. These changes can be sudden or expected, and the adjustments can be in physical structures, in practices, or in policies.

Adaptation can help reduce the vulnerability or increase the resilience of systems to the impacts of climate change. The strategies can be implemented at all levels of administration, from the household to the international level. They are often considered a local issue and are most effective when tailored to local needs and contexts.

What are example of climate change adaptation?

Building flood defenses and improving infrastructure:

Areas prone to flooding can construct defenses like sea walls and levees, and use flood-resistant materials in infrastructure design.

Implementing water-saving measures and developing drought-tolerant crops: Regions expecting decreased water supply can conserve water through efficient irrigation and wastewater recycling, and by planting drought-resistant crops.

Shifting planting and harvesting times: Farmers can adjust their planting and harvesting schedules to align with shifting seasonal weather patterns due to climate change.

Developing heat and disease-resistant varieties of livestock and crops: Through selective breeding and genetic modification, livestock and crops can be developed to withstand increased temperatures and emerging diseases.

Planning and zoning regulations: Governments can implement regulations preventing construction in high-risk areas, such as flood zones or coastal regions vulnerable to sea-level rise.

What are the differences between climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation?

Climate change adaptation and mitigation are two complementary strategies to deal with climate change, but they serve different roles:

Climate change mitigation

This refers to efforts to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases. It's about lessening the severity of future climate change by acting on its causes.

Mitigation measures include switching to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, reforestation, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices that increase carbon sequestration.

Climate change adaptation

This refers to actions taken to manage and cope with the effects of climate change. Unlike mitigation, which targets the causes of climate change, adaptation targets its impacts. This can involve changes in practices, processes, and infrastructure to keep pace with changing climate conditions.

Examples include constructing flood defenses, adjusting farming practices in response to changing weather patterns, and developing heat-resistant crops.

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