Mitigation and Adaptation

IPCC Definitions:

  • Climate mitigation: “An anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases”
  • Climate adaptation: “adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Various types of adaptation can be distinguished, including anticipatory and reactive adaptation, private and public adaptation, and autonomous and planned adaptation.”

While mitigation tackles the causes of climate change, adaptation tackles the effects of the phenomenon. The potential to adjust in order to minimize negative impact and maximize any benefits from changes in climate is known as adaptive capacity. A successful adaptation can reduce vulnerability by building on and strengthening existing coping strategies. In general; the more mitigation there is, the less will be the impacts to which we will have to adjust, and the less the risks for which we will have to try and prepare. Conversely, the greater the degree of preparatory adaptation, the less may be the impacts associated with any given degree of climate change.

Our present age has proactive options (mitigation), and must also plan to live with the consequences (adaptation) of global warming.

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