Climate change adaptation and mitigation

Climate change is defined as a significant statistical change in the mean state or variability of the climate that persists for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use (IPCC, 2014).

Anthropogenic changes result primarily from the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere, due to economic dependence on the use of hydrocarbons and land-use conversion of natural areas to other purposes.

global warming figure
Source: USEPA (2012)

Actions to confront climate change are divided between adaptation and mitigation:

Mitigation: actions aimed at reducing the causes of climate change, such as reducing sources of greenhouse gas emissions or increasing carbon sinks.

Adaptation: actions aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change, that is, the vulnerability of people to current climate variability and future climate changes. Vulnerability is determined by exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity.

Process modell