Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

climate change mitigation and adaptation

Vital Signs of the Planet: Global Climate Change and Global Warming. Learn about where climate change solutions begin and NASA's role in adaptation and.

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Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link mitigation and adaptation with other societal objectives. Building on these insights, Topic 4 presents near-term response options that could help achieve such strategic goals. Near-term adaptation and mitigation actions will differ across sectors and regions, reflecting development status, response capacities and near- and long-term aspirations with regard to both climate and non-climate outcomes. Because adaptation and mitigation inevitably take place in the context of multiple objectives, particular attention is given to the ability to develop and implement integrated approaches that can build on co-benefits and manage trade-offs. Adaptation and mitigation responses are underpinned by common enabling factors.

The climate crisis is increasingly distressing. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to ensure our future is as prosperous as possible. These actions fall into one of two broad categories: climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation. These terms go hand-in-hand while navigating through the climate crisis, but they mean very different things. Climate change mitigation means avoiding and reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to prevent the planet from warming to more extreme temperatures. Climate change adaptation means altering our behavior, systems, andin some casesways of life to protect our families, our economies, and the environment in which we live from the impacts of climate change. The more we reduce emissions right now, the easier it will be to adapt to the changes we can no longer avoid.

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The challenge of confronting the impacts of climate change is often framed in terms of two potential paths that civilization might take: adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation involves reducing the magnitude of climate change itself and, as we will see in the final two lessons, can be subdivided into two alternative strategies: emissions reductions dealing with the problem at its very source, and geoengineering somehow offsetting the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation, by contrast, involves efforts to limit our vulnerability to climate change impacts through various measures, while not necessarily dealing with the underlying cause of those impacts. The reference to "our" in the previous sentence is critical, as adaptive measures typically only deal with impacts to human civilization; they do not and, indeed, cannot deal with impacts to ecosystems and our environment. Coral reefs , for example, are unlikely to adapt to the twin impacts of global warming and ocean acidification. A similar case can be made for other ecosystems and living things. At some level, such considerations call into question what we really mean by adaptation.

Climate change mitigation consists of actions to limit the magnitude or rate of long-term global warming and its related effects. According to the IPCC's assessment report , "Mitigation is a public good; climate change is a case of the ' tragedy of the commons '. Effective climate change mitigation will not be achieved if each agent individual, institution or country acts independently in its own selfish interest see International cooperation and Emissions trading , suggesting the need for collective action. Some adaptation actions, on the other hand, have characteristics of a private good as benefits of actions may accrue more directly to the individuals, regions, or countries that undertake them, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, financing such adaptive activities remains an issue, particularly for poor individuals and countries.

Mitigation involves the reduction in emissions of any greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Carbon dioxide is generally used as the base case to which all other gases are compared, as is the case with carbon offset programmes. However, methane, for example, contributes to climate change much more per molecule than carbon dioxide. Adaptation involves responding to the changes induced as a result of climate change. Adaptation can be reactive or anticipatory. Where possible, anticipatory actions will provide the most cost-effective response to reduce risk.



Climate change mitigation

Adaptation vs. Mitigation

NASA is a world leader in climate studies and Earth science. While its role is not to set climate policy or prescribe particular responses or solutions to climate change, its purview does include providing the robust scientific data needed to understand climate change. NASA then makes this information available to the global community the public, policy- and decision-makers and scientific and planning agencies around the world. Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing us today. It involves many dimensions science, economics, society, politics and moral and ethical questions and is a global problem, felt on local scales, that will be around for decades and centuries to come. Carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping greenhouse gas that has driven recent global warming, lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and the planet especially the oceans takes a while to respond to warming. So even if we stopped emitting all greenhouse gases today, global warming and climate change will continue to affect future generations.

In general, there are two different strategies when it comes to dealing with climate change. We can try to stop future warming mitigation of climate change or we can find ways to live in our warming world adaptation to climate change. The triangle diagram to the left sums these options. Areas in the middle of the triangle represent a combination of approaches. There are costs associated with mitigation and adaptation. However, notice that with no action, we are facing a high cost associated with climate impacts because we will be ill prepared to deal with impacts. Thus, some adaptation will be necessary.

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1 thoughts on “Climate change mitigation and adaptation

  1. Adaptation vs. Mitigation | METEO From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

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