Adaptation refers to actions taken to minimize the effects of climate change. Rather than focusing on methods to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation strategies attempt to predict and mitigate the impacts of climate change. For example, low-lying coastal communities and small island states are initiating adaptation measures because the effects of climate change are already being felt (e.g., rising seas and stronger storm surges). Communities can adapt to these changes by building storm surge walls or relocating to higher ground. Since it appears that some degree of climate change is inevitable, mitigation efforts alone will not suffice to deal with the problem. Rather, some combination of mitigation and adaptation must be pursued. Examples of adaptation strategies include:

  • Developing drought-tolerant crop varieties
  • Increasing irrigation as regions become warmer and drier
  • Moving populations away from vulnerable areas
  • Constructing coastal barriers to prevent beach erosion
Last Updated: 08/20/2012