Difference Between Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation l Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation


The key difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation is that adaptation refers to the actions taken to reduce the negative consequences of changes in the climate whereas mitigation refers to efforts to limit the emission of greenhouse gases.

Adaptation and mitigation are two policy responses to climate change. Climate change is the change in regional as well as global climate patterns during the past few decades. This can also be described as global warming, the gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. Emission of greenhouse gases is the main cause of global warming.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Climate Change Adaptation
3. What is Climate Change Mitigation
4. Side by Side Comparison – Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation in Tabular Form
5. Summary

What is Climate Change Adaptation?

Climate change adaptation refers to the actions taken to lower the adverse effects of climate change. Even if the emission of greenhouses is stabilized through climate change mitigation, the effects of global warming may last many years, and adaptation is necessary to face the changes in climate. Thus, climate change adaptation includes anticipating the negative consequences of climate change and taking appropriate measures to prevent or reduce the damage they can cause.

Some measures for climate change adaptation are as follows:

  • Building flood barriers
  • Developing drought-resistant crops
  • Using scarce water resources more efficiently
  • Developing effective early warning systems
  • Creating coastal buffer zones
  • Using tree species and forestry practices that are less vulnerable to fires and storms
Difference Between Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation l Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation

Figure 01: Relationship Between Risks, Resilience, Hazard Mitigation, and Climate Change Adaptation

Also, it is important to note that there may be positive consequences of climate change as well. Thus, climate change adaptation also includes taking advantage of opportunities that may arise due to climate change. For example, some areas may get extended rainfall during some parts of the year; this excess water can be an advantage if there is a proper plan to store and use it.

What is Climate Change Mitigation?

Climate change mitigation refers to the efforts to prevent or stop the emission of greenhouse gases and limiting the magnitude of future global warming. Furthermore, it can also include efforts to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. In other words, climate change mitigation involves both reducing the emission of greenhouse gases as well as removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Difference Between Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation l Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation

Figure 02: Greenhouse Gases Emission

Moreover, climate change mitigation can include using clean energy sources, using new technologies, changing people’s behaviour or making older technology more energy-efficient. Using clean energy sources such as solar power, wind power, geothermal power, and hydropower is one main strategy for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Besides, steps, like avoiding deforestation, reducing the number of vehicles on the street, and, creating energy efficient appliances, can also contribute to reducing greenhouse gasses. Furthermore, attempts like planting more trees that absorb carbon dioxide and building carbon capture and storage at power plants and factories can help to sequester greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

What is the Difference Between Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation?

To begin with, the basis of the difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation is that, the climate change adaptation refers to the actions taken to lower the negative consequences of changes in the climate whereas the climate change mitigation refers to efforts to limit the emission of greenhouse gases.

Based on the above, an important difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation is that the climate change adaptation includes anticipating the negative consequences of climate change and taking appropriate measures to prevent or reduce the damage they can cause. In contrast, climate change mitigation involves reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Looking at the strategies, building flood barriers, developing drought-resistant crops, using scarce water resources more efficiently, and developing effective early warning systems are some measures we use in climate change adaptation. Using clean energy sources, using new technologies, changing people’s behaviour or making older technology more energy-efficient are some strategies for climate change mitigation.

Difference Between Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation l Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation

Summary – Climate Change Adaptation vs Mitigation

To summarize the difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation, adaptation and mitigation are two responses to climate change. And, the basic difference between climate change adaptation and mitigation is that the climate change adaptation refers to the actions taken to lower the negative consequences of changes in the climate whereas the climate change mitigation refers to efforts to limit the emission of greenhouse gases.

Reference:

1.“What Is Climate Change Mitigation?” BBC News, BBC, 13 Apr. 2014. Available here 
2.“Climate Change Mitigation.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2018. Available here  
3.“Adaptation to Climate Change – Climate Action -.” European Commission, 16 Feb. 2017. Available here  

Image Courtesy:

1.”27242486244″ by U.S. Government Accountability Office (CC0) via Flickr
2.”Greenhouse Gas by Sector”By Robert A. Rohde – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

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