Tag Archives: analysis

The era of adaptation

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE comes in two flavours: mitigation and adaptation.

Mitigation is where we try to prevent climate change from becoming any worse. That is, we try to stop the release of more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Adaptation is where we try to ready ourselves for the likely effects of climate change. If sea levels are going to rise, for example, we look at levies or planned retreats from the coast. If temperatures are going to soar we make sure railway lines will not buckle in the heat and that hospitals are equipped for surges in people suffering heatstroke.

Adaptation has always been the poorer cousin of mitigation. ‘To solve climate change,’ declared interest groups, ‘we must mitigate the release of greenhouse gases!’

‘Yes!’ shouted pretty much everyone. The United Nations formed a body to address the problem and the world pinned its hopes on a global treaty to prevent the release of greenhouse gases.

As we have seen, however, this hasn’t been the success that was hoped…

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/06/26/3789391.htm