Before you continue reading, give yourself a moment to guess what the content of this blog is going to be from the catchy blogpost title!
Hint: It involves two important concepts related to the topic of discussion–climate change.
Introducing the two terms, ‘Climate Mitigation’ & ‘Climate Adaptation’. In order to better comprehend these two jargons, let us break it down. Now we all known what the term ‘climate’ is, and if you don’t, here is a simple explanation of what climate is. Next, what is ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’ then?
Mitigation by definition is the action of reducing the severity and seriousness. In other words, to tone down. Putting things into context, climate mitigation basically signifies the act of toning down with the harmful human activities that contribute to global warming and climate change.
Adaptation by definition is the action or process of adapting. By adapting, we also mean revamping. When the term climate adaptation is used, it means that we should find alternative solutions to better suit the changing environment.
Hear from our experts Mike Campton and Mohammad Shakirin Bin Shahrul Jamal on what Climate Mitigation and Adaptation is all about.
Tone it down a Notch
By Mike Campton
The Earth’s climate has changed naturally many times over its lifetime. In modern use, the term climate change, by default, carries the definition of anthropogenic, or human-made, climate change. And therein lies the answer to fight against climate change. Humans.
The issue of climate change cuts across multiple disciplines – science, economics, politics, social justice and ethics, thus requiring a multi-pronged approach in order to effectively fight it. Climate mitigation and climate adaptation are two such approaches.
The difference between the two is a matter of past and future. The greenhouse gases (GHGs) that were emitted in the 19th and 20th centuries are already in the atmosphere and there is nothing we can do to reduce that now. Climate adaptation involves taking certain measures to adjust to and lessen the effects of climate change on humanity. This, essentially, is a last-ditch, no-turning-back strategy.
Climate mitigation, however, has a brighter outlook. It allows us to look to the future and take measures to fight climate change by reducing GHG emissions at its source or protect and increase carbon sinks. This, essentially, is a prevention-is-better-than-cure strategy.
From a science and technology standpoint, we have made great advancements in over the past couple of decades. A prime example is the rise to prominence of renewable energy technology like solar panels and wind turbines used to generate electricity. Electric motors and battery technology in vehicles are other examples of how clean technology has come a long way since the end of the last century. All of these technologies have one objective and that is to reduce the amount of GHGs that is being emitted into the atmosphere. In the case of carbon capture and reforestation, these are methods to reduce the amount of carbon that is already in the atmosphere.
Law and policy is an important second aspect to climate change mitigation. Although industry is one of the main culprits of the tremendous amounts of GHGs being released, it is government that has the authority to regulate. A well-known example of this is the Keystone XL pipeline in North America, which would stretch from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, down to Louisiana, USA. This move would spew immense amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, but ultimately; the United States Congress and President Obama have the power to regulate that. In order for humanity to truly fight climate change and implement climate mitigation tactics, governments and decision-makers need to be onboard and ready to take action.
Finally, there is everyone else. We are the ones driving our cars, lighting our buildings and creating landfills. Despite how small we can feel sometimes, our actions can have serious consequences. There are two things we can do – 1) make small but significant changes to our lifestyle, like using energy efficient light bulbs and taking public transportation, and 2) make our voices heard to our communities and our governments so larger scale actions can be taken. If we don’t urge and pressure our decision-makers to take action against climate change, then who else will? It is our civil responsibility.
Climate change is the greatest issue and challenge faced by this generation. If we do not succeed in fighting climate change now, it will become an even greater burden for the next generation, who will be the victims of the catastrophic effects.
This must go..
Two is better than one
by Mohammad Shakirin Bin Shahrul Jamal
The terms “adaptation” and “mitigation” are two important terms that are fundamental in the climate change debate. The IPCC defined adaptation as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderate harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Similarly, Mitchell and Tanner (2006) defined adaptation as an understanding of how individuals, groups and natural systems can prepare for and respond to changes in climate or their environment. According to them, it is crucial to reducing vulnerability to climate change. While mitigation tackles the causes of climate change, adaptation tackles the effects of the phenomenon. The potential to adjust in order to minimize negative impact and maximize any benefits from changes in climate is known as adaptive capacity. A successful adaptation can reduce vulnerability by building on and strengthening existing coping strategies.
In general the more mitigation there is, the less will be the impacts to which we will have to adjust, and the less the risks for which we will have to try and prepare. Conversely, the greater the degree of preparatory adaptation, the less may be the impacts associated with any given degree of climate change. For people today, already feeling the impacts of past inaction in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation is not altogether passive, rather it is an active adjustment in response to new stimuli. However, our present age has proactive options (mitigation), and must also plan to live with the consequences (adaptation) of global warming.
The idea that less mitigation means greater climatic change and consequently requiring more adaptation is the basis for the urgency surrounding reductions in greenhouse gases. Climate mitigation and adaptation should not be seen as alternatives to each other, as they are not discrete activities but rather a combined set of actions in an overall strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate mitigation is any action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce the long-term risk and hazards of climate change to human life, property. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines mitigation as: “An anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.” Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Climate adaptation refers to the ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences. The IPCC defines adaptation as the, “adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Various types of adaptation can be distinguished, including anticipatory and reactive adaptation, private and public adaptation, and autonomous and planned adaptation.”
It’s time to save yourselves, humans.