Strategies, Methods and Outlook
Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco
Climate change adaptation is the assessment of community vulnerability to climate change impacts and the development of strategies to reduce them. It is complementary to the development of strategies to reduce a community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Both types of strategies are needed and often fall under the broader umbrella of climate action planning. Reducing GHG emissions (often referred to as ‘mitigation’) addresses the root cause of climate change by aiming to limit atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases. But due to the persistence of these gases in the atmosphere, observable slowing of the progression of climate change would be many decades away even if aggressive GHG emissions reductions were to occur today. Changes to the climate are already occurring and are projected to continue well into the future regardless of the level of GHG emissions reduction achieved (Field et al. 2012; Solomon et al. 2007). Climate change adaptation refers to actions taken to address these unavoidable climate impacts. While action must be taken at all scales, cities are critical to the development and implementation of effective climate adaptation measures. Despite being a global problem, the impacts of climate change will be felt most severely at the local level. The challenge of climate adaptation is that direct climate impacts such as sea-level rise, temperature changes, including extreme heat events, and change in precipitation patterns have a variety of secondary impacts on community conditions.
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