The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as the “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities”.
What is climate change adaptation trying to achieve?
Climate change is happening today, and will continue into the future, because of the levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are already built up in the atmosphere. Unavoidable climate change means:
- extreme weather events
- increased weather variability (like unseasonal rains or droughts) and
- Longer-term changes that affect ecosystems, sea-levels and food production.
While persistent greenhouse gas emissions have already changed climate, many losses from the associated extreme climate events are potentially avoidable. CCA helps humans cope with impacts that cannot be avoided or mitigated. The IPCC defines CCA as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. The poorest and most vulnerable have contributed the least to climate change and have the least ability to adapt to or cope with its effects. CCA’s objective from a humanitarian perspective is therefore to help these populations cope with climate change.
For more information on Adaptation check the UNFCCC webiste.