Mitigation, adaptation and resilience: climate terminology explained- Sambal member upload

This two page leaflet explains the differences and relationship between mitigation, adaptation and resilience. By adapting to cope with the effects of CC, communities, enterprises and institutions can build up their climate change resilience.

BY: Deepak Kumar
Original Source / Author: ACT & OPML 08 Jan, 2018
Original Source Website: Visit Website    Download

The terms ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’ refer to two different paths for dealing with climate change. Mitigation deals with the causes of climate change and works to reduce man-made effects on the climate system. In contrast, adaptation makes changes to prepare for and negate the effects of climate change, thereby reducing the vulnerability of communities and ecosystems. By adapting to cope with the effects of climate change, communities, enterprises and institutions can build up their climate change resilience.

What is mitigation?

Mitigation is action taken to reduce activities that are the man-made causes of climate change. These activities include burning fossil fuels, deforestation and livestock farming – all of which increase concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, producing a blanketing effect and warming the Earth. By taking measures to reduce emissions of GHG, or remove them from the atmosphere via forest planting or underground storage for example, individuals and institutions can mitigate climate change.

Mitigation has policy implications for the major sectors of the economy: energy, transport, construction, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management. To mitigate their activities, these sectors have several options. For example, they can use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to reduce the amount of GHG released into the atmosphere. Or they can use energy efficient lighting and electrical appliances to reduce their energy consumption. Permits and incentives are a useful way of encouraging this kind of mitigating behaviour.

The benefits of these mitigation actions, aside from the global benefit of reduced GHG emissions, include improved air quality, reduced health costs, increased energy efficiency and better energy security.

But for mitigation actions to reduce GHG emissions enough to significantly slow down climate change, piecemeal efforts are not enough. Success depends on global cooperation and achieving this is not straightforward. Many developing countries do not want to be denied the opportunities that have previously benefited their more industrialised neighbours; they argue for compensation in mitigating climate change.

What is adaptation?

Adaptation involves actions taken to counteract new or changing environmental challenges and reduce the vulnerability of human systems to the effects of climate change. Adaptation can take place in anticipation of an event or as a response to it; it includes adjustments through climate planning as well as autonomous reactions by individuals and public bodies.

The policy implications of adaptation relate to the specific risks that climate change poses to an area or sector and the practical steps needed to reduce those risks. The environmental impact of increases in heavy rain, for example, will not affect settlements on higher ground in the same way as it does those on flood plains. Different adaptation, and policy, responses are therefore required for different areas.

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