Know Climate Change

Adaptation and Mitigation


Approaches for Adaptation Measures

Adaptation measures differ not only with respect to their climatic stimuli, but also with respect to other non-climatic conditions, sometimes called intervening conditions, which serve to influence the sensitivity of systems and the nature of their adjustments. For example, a series of droughts may have similar impacts on crop yields in two regions. However, differing socio-economic and institutional arrangements in the two regions may well result in different impacts on farmers, and hence, in quite different adaptive responses, both in the short and the long term.

The appropriateness of a particular strategy is highly dependent on time, and place or region. This is because climate variability differs considerably from one region to another, and the climate risk may change over time. In addition, different communities and cultures may place greater or lesser value on different consequences, and therefore, may have strong preferences for different types of adaptation measures.

With the existence of such uncertainties, one potential path forward for adaptation is to identify ‘no regrets’ actions that reduce vulnerability to climate change, but are low-risk in nature. This means that they are not sensitive to future assumptions about the rate and magnitude of future climate change.

There are two types of approaches to ‘no regrets’ adaptation (CSIRO, 2006).

  1. Actions that reduce existing vulnerability: This strategy is likely to yield benefits regardless of future climate change. For example, early warning systems for heat waves will reduce current heat-related illnesses and deaths, and will continue to pay dividends as temperatures rise in the future. Such activities have a high probability of generating a positive return on the investment.
  2. Mainstreaming climate change into existing activities: Many decisions that might affect future vulnerability to climate change are being made without taking climate change into consideration. Such a trend can be seen in developing countries where development is the main priority. However, if climate change is mainstreamed in these development activities through small and cost-effective adjustments, it is possible to reduce the vulnerability of a planning decision or project to climate change. Such an approach is extremely beneficial when climate change may increase the risk of failure or premature renovation and/or retirement of assets.

The ability of any employed adaptation strategy or option to offset adverse impacts of climate change will depend upon the efficiency of implementation, the region and sector under consideration, and the rate and magnitude of future climate change. The faster the rate of climate change, the more difficult and expensive it will be for the natural and human systems to adapt.

Thus, it is vital to increase the resilience and coping capacity of human and natural systems, so as to prepare them for future enhanced variability and extremes associated with climate change.

Barriers to Adaptation... Click to know

The significant barriers to implementing adaptation measures include both the inability of natural systems to adapt to the rate and magnitude of climate change, as well as formidable environmental, economic, informational, social, attitudinal, and behavioural constraints. There are also significant information and knowledge gaps, particularly in developing countries.

Adaptation response is more challenging in the developing and the least developed countries due to limited availability of resources with them to build adaptive capacity. If climate change occurs faster than anticipated, many developing countries will be unable to cope with more frequent/intense occurrence of extreme weather events, as this will drain resources budgeted for other purposes. There has been a paradigm shift in the planning process to overcome the above-mentioned barriers at local, regional, and national levels. For example, the least-developed countries are developing NAPA and some developed countries have established national adaptation policy frameworks.

You have just studied the different approaches and options for adaptation. We will now elaborate upon the different kinds of adaptation measures or options available for certain key sectors.

Mangrove Forest for Coastal Restoration
By replanting mangrove forests, it was possible to reduce the impact of storms...

By replanting mangrove forests, it was possible to reduce the impact of storms, and also support local communities in tropical coastal regions. This is a good example of ‘no regrets’ approach.

To understand the ‘no regrets’ approach, you can watch a video on ‘TheWaterChannel’.

Click the ‘play’ button to watch the video. It may take a few seconds to load.