Climate change adaptation
Climate change adaptation (CCA) is a response to global warming (also known as "climate change" or "anthropogenic climate change"). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as: 'the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustment to expected climate and its effects'. This adjustment includes many areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and education.
Adaptation actions can be considered as either incremental adaptation (actions where the central aim is to maintain the essence and integrity of a system) or transformational adaptation (actions that change the fundamental attributes of a system in response to climate change and its impacts).
The need for adaptation varies from place to place, depending on the sensitivity and vulnerability to environmental impacts. Adaptation is especially important in developing countries since those countries are bearing the brunt of the effects of global warming. Human adaptive capacity is unevenly distributed across different regions and populations, and developing countries generally have less capacity to adapt.
Adaptive capacity is closely linked to social and economic development. The economic costs of adaptation to climate change are likely to cost billions of dollars annually for the next several decades, though the exact amount of money needed is unknown.
The adaptation challenge grows with the magnitude and the rate of climate change. Even the most effective climate change mitigation through reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or enhanced removal of these gases from the atmosphere (through carbon sinks) would not prevent further climate change impacts, making the need for adaptation unavoidable. However climate change may be too much for some natural ecosystems, such as coral reefs, to be able to adapt. Others are concerned that climate adaptation programs might interfere with the existing development programs and thus lead to unintended consequences for vulnerable groups. The economic and social costs of unmitigated climate change would be very high.
Effects of global warming
The projected effects for the environment and for civilization are numerous and varied. The main effect is an increasing global average temperature. As of 2013 the average surface temperature could increase by a further 0.3 to 4.8 °C (0.5 to 8.6 °F) by the end of the century. This causes a variety of secondary effects, namely, changes in patterns of precipitation, rising sea levels, altered patterns of agriculture, increased extreme weather events, the expansion of the range of tropical diseases, and the opening of new marine trade routes.
Potential effects include sea level rise of 110 to 770 mm (0.36 to 2.5 feet) between 1990 and 2100, repercussions to agriculture, possible slowing of the thermohaline circulation, reductions in the ozone layer, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, lowering of ocean pH, and the spread of tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
A summary of probable effects and recent understanding can be found in the report made for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report by Working Group II.
Adaptation is handicapped by uncertainty over the effects of global warming on specific locations such as the Southwestern United States or phenomena such as the Indian monsoon predicted to increase in frequency and intensity.
International adaptation finance
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, under Article 11, incorporates a financial mechanism to developing country parties to support them with adaptation. Until 2009, three funds existed under the UNFCCC financial mechanism. The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) are administered by the Global Environmental Facility. The Adaptation Fund was established a result of negotiations during COP15 and COP16 and is administered by its own Secretariat. Initially, when the Kyoto Protocol was in operation, the Adaptation Fund was financed by a 2% levy on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
At the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP15), held in Copenhagen in 2009, the Copenhagen Accord was agreed in order to commit to the goal of sending $100 billion per year to developing countries in assistance for climate change mitigation and adaptation through 2020. A new fund - the Green Climate Fund, was therefore created.
A key and defining feature of international adaptation finance is its premise on the concept of additionality. This reflects the linkages between adaptation finance and other levels of development aid. Many developing countries already provide international aid assistance to developing countries to address challenges such as poverty, malnutrition, food insecurity, availability of drinking water, indebtedness, illiteracy, unemployment, local resource conflicts, and lower technological development. Climate change threatens to exacerbate or stall progress on fixing some of these pre-existing problems, and creates new problems. To avoid existing aid being redirected, additionality refers to the extra costs of adaptation.
- Climate finance classified as aid, but additional to (over and above) the 0.7% ODA target;
- Increase on previous year's Official Development Assistance (ODA) spent on climate change mitigation;
- Rising ODA levels that include climate change finance but where it is limited to a specified percentage; and
- Increase in climate finance not connected to ODA.
A criticism of additionality is that it encourages business as usual that does not account for the future risks of climate change. Some advocates have thus proposed integrating climate change adaptation into poverty reduction programs.
From 2010 to 2020, Denmark increased its global warming adaptation aid 33%, from 0.09% of GDP to 0.12% of GDP, but not by additionality. Instead, the aid was subtracted from other foreign assistance funds. Politiken wrote: "Climate assistance is taken from the poorest."
Considerations and general recommendations
Principles for effective policy
Adaptive policy can occur at the global, national, or local scale, with outcomes dependent on the political will in that area. Scheraga and Grambsch identify 9 fundamental principles to be considered when designing adaptation policy.
- The effects of climate change vary by region.
- The effects of climate change may vary across demographic groups.
- Climate change poses both risks and opportunities.
- The effects of climate change must be considered in the context of multiple stressors and factors, which may be as important to the design of adaptive responses as the sensitivity of the change.
- Adaptation comes at a cost.
- Adaptive responses vary in effectiveness, as demonstrated by current efforts to cope with climate variability.
- The systemic nature of climate impacts complicates the development of adaptation policy.
- Maladaptation can result in negative effects that are as serious as the climate-induced effects that are being avoided.
- Many opportunities for adaptation make sense whether or not the effects of climate change are realized.
Scheraga and Grambsch make it clear that climate change policy is impeded by the high level of variance surrounding climate change impacts as well as the diverse nature of the problems they face.
Adaptation can mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, but it will incur costs and will not prevent all damage. The IPCC points out that many adverse effects of climate change are not changes in the average conditions, but changes in the variation or the extremes of conditions. For example, the average sea level in a port might not be as important as the height of water during a storm surge (which causes flooding); the average rainfall in an area might not be as important as how frequent and severe droughts and extreme precipitation events become. Additionally, effective adaptive policy can be difficult to implement because policymakers are rewarded more for enacting short-term change, rather than long-term planning. Since the impacts of climate change are generally not seen in the short-term, this means that policymakers have less incentive to act upon those potential outcomes. Furthermore, these problems (both the causes and effects of climate change) are occurring on a global scale, which has caused the United Nations to lead global policy efforts such as the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, in addition to creating a body of research through the IPCC, in order to create a global framework for adapting to and combatting climate change. However, the vast majority of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies are being implemented on a more local scale due to the fact that different regions must adapt differently to climate change and because national and global policies are often more challenging to enact.
Criteria for assessing responses
James Titus, project manager for sea level rise at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, identifies the following criteria that policy makers should use in assessing responses to global warming:
- Economic Efficiency: Will the initiative yield benefits substantially greater than if the resources were applied elsewhere?
- Flexibility: Is the strategy reasonable for the entire range of possible changes in temperatures, precipitation, and sea level?
- Urgency: Would the strategy be successful if implementation were delayed ten or twenty years?
- Low Cost: Does the strategy require minimal resources?
- Equity: Does the strategy unfairly benefit some at the expense of other regions, generations, or economic classes?
- Institutional feasibility: Is the strategy acceptable to the public? Can it be implemented with existing institutions under existing laws?
- Unique or Critical Resources: Would the strategy decrease the risk of losing unique environmental or cultural resources?
- Health and Safety: Would the proposed strategy increase or decrease the risk of disease or injury?
- Consistency: Does the policy support other national state, community, or private goals?
- Private v. Public Sector: Does the strategy minimize governmental interference with decisions best made by the private sector?
Differing time scales
Adaptation can either occur in anticipation of change (anticipatory adaptation), or be a response to those changes (reactive adaptation). Most adaptation being implemented at present is responding to current climate trends and variability, for example increased use of artificial snow-making in the European Alps. Some adaptation measures, however, are anticipating future climate change, such as the construction of the Confederation Bridge in Canada at a higher elevation to take into account the effect of future sea-level rise on ship clearance under the bridge.
Much adaptation takes place in relation to short-term climate variability, however this may cause maladaptation to longer-term climatic trends. For example, the expansion of irrigation in Egypt into the Western Sinai desert due to a period of higher river flows is a maladaptation when viewed in relation to the longer term projections of drying in the region). Adaptations at one scale can also create externalities at another by reducing the adaptive capacity of other actors. This is often the case when broad assessments of the costs and benefits of adaptation are examined at smaller scales and it is possible to see that whilst the adaptation may benefit some actors, it has a negative effect on others.
Traditional coping strategies
People have always adapted to climatic changes and some community coping strategies already exist, for example changing sowing times or adopting new water-saving techniques. Traditional knowledge and coping strategies must be maintained and strengthened, otherwise adaptive capacity may be weakened as local knowledge of the environment is lost. Strengthening these local techniques and building upon them also makes it more likely that adaptation strategies will be adopted, as it creates more community ownership and involvement in the process. In many cases however this will not be enough to adapt to new conditions which are outside the range of those previously experienced, and new techniques will be needed. The incremental adaptations which were being implemented are now insufficient as the vulnerabilities and risks of climate change have increased, this causes a need for transformational adaptations which are much larger and costlier. Current development efforts are increasingly focusing on community-based climate change adaptation, seeking to enhance local knowledge, participation and ownership of adaptation strategies.
Types of adaptation
Local adaptation efforts
Cities, states, and provinces often have considerable responsibility in land use planning, public health, and disaster management. Some have begun to take steps to adapt to threats intensified by climate change, such as flooding, bushfires, heatwaves, and rising sea levels.
- Installing protective and/ or resilient technologies and materials in properties that are prone to flooding
- Changing to heat tolerant tree varieties
- Rainwater storage to deal with more frequent flooding rainfall – Changing to water permeable pavements, adding water-buffering vegetation, adding underground storage tanks, subsidizing household rain barrels
- Reducing paved areas to deal with rainwater and heat
- Adding green roofs to deal with rainwater and heat
- Adding air conditioning in public schools
- Requiring waterfront properties to have higher foundations
- Raising pumps at wastewater treatment plants
- Surveying local vulnerabilities, raising public awareness, and making climate change-specific planning tools like future flood maps
- Incentivizing lighter-colored roofs to reduce the heat island effect
- Installing devices to prevent seawater from backflowing into storm drains
- Installing better flood defenses, such as sea walls and increased pumping capacity
- Buying out homeowners in flood-prone areas
- Raising street level to prevent flooding
Dealing with more frequent drenching rains may required increasing the capacity of stormwater systems, and separating stormwater from blackwater, so that overflows in peak periods do not contaminate rivers. One example is the SMART Tunnel in Kuala Lumpur.
According to English Nature, gardeners can help mitigate the effects of climate change by providing habitats for the most threatened species, and/or saving water by changing gardens to use plants which require less.
New York City produced a comprehensive report for its Rebuilding and Resiliency initiative after Hurricane Sandy. Its efforts include not only making buildings less prone to flooding, but taking steps to reduce the future recurrence of specific problems encountered during and after the storm: weeks-long fuel shortages even in unaffected areas due to legal and transportation problems, flooded health care facilities, insurance premium increases, damage to electricity and steam generation in addition to distribution networks, and flooding of subway and roadway tunnels.
Enhancing adaptive capacity
Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system (human, natural or managed) to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with consequences. As a property, adaptive capacity is distinct from adaptation itself. Those societies that can respond to change quickly and successfully have a high adaptive capacity. High adaptive capacity does not necessarily translate into successful adaptation. For example, adaptive capacity in Western Europe is generally considered to be high, and the risks of warmer winters increasing the range of livestock diseases is well documented, but many parts of Europe were still badly affected by outbreaks of the Bluetongue virus in livestock in 2007.
Unmitigated climate change (i.e., future climate change without efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions) would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt.
It has been found that efforts to enhance adaptive capacity can help to reduce vulnerability to climate change. In many instances, activities to promote sustainable development can also act to enhance people's adaptive capacity to climate change. These activities can include:
- Improving access to resources
- Reducing poverty
- Lowering inequities of resources and wealth among groups
- Improving education and information
- Improving infrastructure
- Improving institutional capacity and efficiency
- Promoting local indigenous practices, knowledge, and experiences
Others have suggested that certain forms of gender inequity should be addressed at the same time; for example women may have participation in decision-making, or be constrained by lower levels of education.
Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute found that development interventions to increase adaptive capacity have tended not to result in increased agency for local people. They argue that this should play a more prominent part in future intervention planning because agency is a central factor in all other aspects of adaptive capacity. Asset holdings and the ability to convert these resources through institutional and market processes are central to agency.
A significant effect of global climate change is the altering of global rainfall patterns, with certain effects on agriculture. Rainfed agriculture constitutes 80% of global agriculture. Many of the 852 million poor people in the world live in parts of Asia and Africa that depend on rainfall to cultivate food crops. Climate change will modify rainfall, evaporation, runoff, and soil moisture storage. Extended drought can cause the failure of small and marginal farms with resultant economic, political and social disruption, more so than this currently occurs.
Agriculture of any kind is strongly influenced by the availability of water. Changes in total seasonal precipitation or in its pattern of variability are both important. The occurrence of moisture stress during flowering, pollination, and grain-filling is harmful to most crops and particularly so to corn, soybeans, and wheat. Increased evaporation from the soil and accelerated transpiration in the plants themselves will cause moisture stress.
Adaptive ideas include:
- Taking advantage of global transportation systems to delivering surplus food to where it is needed (though this does not help subsistence farmers unless aid is given).
- Developing crop varieties with greater drought tolerance.
- Rainwater storage. For example, according to the International Water Management Institute, using small planting basins to 'harvest' water in Zimbabwe has been shown to boost maize yields, whether rainfall is abundant or scarce. And in Niger, they have led to three or fourfold increases in millet yields.
- Falling back from crops to wild edible fruits, roots and leaves. Promoting the growth of forests can provide these backup food supplies, and also provide watershed conservation, carbon sequestration, and aesthetic value.
Reforestation is one of the ways to stop desertification fueled by anthropogenic climate change and non sustainable land use. One of the most important projects is the Great Green Wall that should stop the expansion of Sahara desert to the south. By 2018 only 15% of it is accomplished, but there are already many positive effects, which include: "Over 12 million acres (5 million hectares) of degraded land has been restored in Nigeria; roughly 30 million acres of drought-resistant trees have been planted across Senegal; and a whopping 37 million acres of land has been restored in Ethiopia – just to name a few of the states involved." "many groundwater wells refilled with drinking water, rural towns with additional food supplies, and new sources of work and income for villagers, thanks to the need for tree maintenance"
More spending on irrigation
The demand for water for irrigation is projected to rise in a warmer climate, bringing increased competition between agriculture—already the largest consumer of water resources in semi-arid regions—and urban as well as industrial users. Falling water tables and the resulting increase in the energy needed to pump water will make the practice of irrigation more expensive, particularly when with drier conditions more water will be required per acre. Other strategies will be needed to make the most efficient use of water resources. For example, the International Water Management Institute has suggested five strategies that could help Asia feed its growing population in light of climate change. These are:
- Modernising existing irrigation schemes to suit modern methods of farming
- Supporting farmers' efforts to find their own water supplies, by tapping into groundwater in a sustainable way
- Looking beyond conventional "Participatory Irrigation Management" schemes, by engaging the private sector
- Expanding capacity and knowledge
- Investing outside the irrigation sector
Russian and American scientists have in the past tried to control the weather, for example by seeding clouds with chemicals to try to produce rain when and where it is needed. A new method being developed involves replicating the urban heat island effect, where cities are slightly hotter than the countryside because they are darker and absorb more heat. This creates 28% more rain 20–40 miles downwind from cities compared to upwind.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through its Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) opined in 2007: "Purposeful augmentation of precipitation, reduction of hail damage, dispersion of fog and other types of cloud and storm modifications by cloud seeding are developing technologies which are still striving to achieve a sound scientific foundation and which have to be adapted to enormously varied natural conditions."
Damming glacial lakes
Glacial lake outburst floods may become a bigger concern due to the retreat of glaciers, leaving behind numerous lakes that are impounded by often weak terminal moraine dams. In the past, the sudden failure of these dams has resulted in localized property damage, injury and deaths. Glacial lakes in danger of bursting can have their moraines replaced with concrete dams (which may also provide hydroelectric power).
IPCC (2007) concluded that geoengineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, remained largely unproven. It was judged that reliable cost estimates for geoengineering had not been published.
The Royal Society (2009) published the findings of a study into geoengineering. The authors of the study defined geoengineering as a "deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system, in order to moderate global warming". According to the study, the safest and most predictable method of moderating climate change is early action to reduce GHG emissions.
- Solar radiation management may be seen as an adaptation to global warming. Techniques such as space sunshade, creating stratospheric sulfur aerosols and painting roofing and paving materials white all fall into this category.
- Hydrological geoengineering - typically seeking to preserve sea ice or adjust thermohaline circulation by using methods such as diverting rivers to keep warm water away from sea ice, or tethering icebergs to prevent them drifting into warmer waters and melting. Though this is an adaptation technique, if it prevents Arctic methane release it would also be classified as mitigation.
Migration frequently requires that would-be migrants have access to social and financial capital, such as support networks in the chosen destination and the funds or physical resources to be able to move. Migration is frequently the last adaptive response households will take when confronted with environmental factors that threaten their livelihoods, and mostly resorted to when other mechanisms to cope have proven unsuccessful.
The rhetoric regarding climate-related migration is complex and disputed. However, it is widely accepted that the results of migration events are multi-causal, with the environment being just a factor amongst many. Outside of policy, human rights organizations, expert demographers and environmental climate scientists dominate this debate. Many discussions are based on projections, while relatively few use current migration data. While many migration events can be attributed to sudden environmental change, most migration events are a result of long term environmental changes and do not cause sudden migration. Some scholars attribute these events to sudden environmental changes, like natural disasters. Some choose to label it "climate change", which reflects a more long term onset of change, and the human impact element.
It is helpful to provide an intersectional approach to this discussion and understand that focusing on climate change as the issue frames the debate in terms of projections, causing the research to be speculative. Migration as tool for climate change adaptation is projected to be a more pressing issue in the decade to come. It is often framed in terms of human rights issues and national security. Migration events are often seen as a failure of the governments or policy making bodies that could not contain or effectively manage environmental changes. For example, extreme drought events in the Caribbean proliferate movement of peoples because of the lack of water. This is often seen as a failure on the local governments to provide structural and independent resources. These adaptation failures that have been the topic of concern for many scholars researching this area. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been viewed as one of the highest authorities to help those displaced. In Africa, specifically, migrant social networks can help to build social capital to increase the social resilience in the communities of origin and trigger innovations across regions by the transfer of knowledge, technology, remittances and other resources. These could increase the flexibility, diversity and creativity of communities in addressing climate stress and open new pathways for co-development connecting the home and host communities.
In Africa, in particular, in terms of adaptation strategies Mozambique and Zimbabwe are clear examples of this because they have implemented relocation policies that have reduced the exposure of populations and migrants to disaster. In any case, it is important to build resilience in the long run. And for that, tools must be put in place that limit forced displacement after a disaster; promote employment programs, even if only temporary, for IDPs or establish funding plans to ensure their security; to minimize the vulnerability of populations from risk areas. This can limit the displacement caused by environmental shocks and better channel the positive spillovers (money transfers, experiences, etc.) from the migration to the origin countries/communities.
The figure of the "failed migrant", in most African countries, shows extreme heterogeneity. The causes associated with failure are most often from social and personal natures – feelings of personal failure for example– but can also be related to social isolation in the host countries. Although there has been some progress in the discussion of the causes of the pathos of failed migration, there are still many unresolved issues. Factors such as a low social level, a change of life plan, unemployment, or even environmental stress (drought, high temperature, water scarcity, etc.) are often associated with an increased risk of failure when we know that most African migrants live in difficult socio-economic and ecological conditions.
Insurance spreads the financial impact of flooding and other extreme weather events. Although it can be preferable to take a proactive approach to eliminate the cause of the risk, reactive post-harm compensation can be used as a last resort. Access to reinsurance may be a form of increasing the resiliency of cities. Where there are failures in the private insurance market, the public sector can subsidize premiums. A study identified key equity issues for policy considerations:
- Transferring risk to the public purse does not reduce overall risk
- Governments can spread the cost of losses across time rather than space
- Governments can force home-owners in low risk areas to cross-subsidize the insurance premiums of those in high risk areas
- Cross-subsidization is increasingly difficult for private sector insurers operating in a competitive market
- Governments can tax people to pay for tomorrow's disaster.
Government-subsidized insurance, such as the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program, is criticized for providing a perverse incentive to develop properties in hazardous areas, thereby increasing overall risk. It is also suggested that insurance can undermine other efforts to increase adaptation, for instance through property level protection and resilience. This behavioral effect may be countered with appropriate land-use policies that limit new construction where current or future climate risks are perceived and/or encourage the adoption of resilient building codes to mitigate potential damages.
Adaptation measures by region
Numerous countries, including Australia, have held inquiries into and have planned or started adaptation measures.
Policies have been identified as important tools for integrating issues of climate change adaptation. At national levels, adaptation strategies may be found in National Action Plans (NAPS) and National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)(in developing countries), and/or in national policies and strategies on climate change. These are at different levels of development in different countries.
The state of California enacted the first comprehensive state-level climate projection and action plan with its 2009 "California Climate Adaptation Strategy." California's electrical grid has been impacted by the increased fire risks associated with climate change, such as in the 2019 "red flag" warning about the possibility of wildfires declared in some areas of California, which required the electricity company "Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)" to shut down power to prevent inflammation of trees that touch the electricity lines. Millions were impacted. The climatic conditions that cause this warning became more frequent because of climate change, and will worsen if temperatures continue to increase.
Within the state of Florida four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach) have created the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact in order to coordinate adaptation and mitigation strategies to cope with the impact of climate change on the region.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued grants to coastal cities and towns for adaptation activities such as fortification against flooding and preventing coastal erosion.
New York State is requiring climate change be taken into account in certain infrastructure permitting, zoning, and open space programs; and is mapping sea level rise along its coast. After Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey accelerated voluntary government buy-back of homes in flood-prone areas. New York City announced in 2013 it planned to spend between $10 and $20 billion on local flood protection, reduction of the heat island effect with reflective and green roofs, flood-hardening of hospitals and public housing, resiliency in food supply, and beach enhancement; rezoned to allow private property owners to move critical features to upper stories; and required electrical utilities to harden infrastructure against flooding. Study of a large storm barrier spanning the entire harbor was previously proposed by the Governor of New York, but was dismissed in the City's plans.
In Mesoamerica today, climate change is one of the main threats to rural Central American farmers, as the region is plagued with frequent droughts, cyclones and the El Niño- Southern-Oscillation. Although there is a wide variety of adaption strategies, these can vary dramatically from country to country. Many of the adjustments that have been made are primarily agricultural or related to water supply. Some of these adaptive strategies include restoration of degraded lands, rearrangement of land uses across territories, livelihood diversification, changes to sowing dates or water harvest, and even migration. The lack of available resources in Mesoamerica continues to pose as a barrier to more substantial adaptations, so the changes made today are much more incremental.
In 2008, the German Federal Cabinet adopted the 'German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change' that sets out a framework for adaptation in Germany. Priorities are to collaborate with the Federal States of Germany in assessing the risks of climate change, identifying action areas and defining appropriate goals and measures. In 2011, the Federal Cabinet adopted the 'Adaptation Action Plan' that is accompanied by other items such as research programs, adaptation assessments and systematic observations.
In 2009 the Greenland Climate Research Centre was set up in the capital of Greenland, Nuuk. Traditional knowledge is important for weather and animal migration, as well as for adaptive capacity building in areas such as the recognition of approaching hazards and survival skills.
In 2018, the New York WILD film festival gave the "Best Short Film" award to a 12-minute documentary, titled Adaptation Bangladesh: Sea Level Rise. The film explores the way in which Bangladeshi farmers are preventing their farms from flooding by building floating gardens made of water hyacinth and bamboo.
Africa will be one of the regions most impacted by the adverse effects of climate change. Reasons for Africa's vulnerability are diverse and include low levels of adaptive capacity, poor diffusion of technologies and information relevant to supporting adaptation, and high dependence on agro-ecosystems for livelihoods. Many countries across Africa are classified as Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) with poor socio-economic conditions, and by implication are faced with particular challenges in responding to the impacts of climate change.
Pronounced risks identified for Africa in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report relate to ecosystems, water availability and agricultural systems, with implications for food security. In relation to agricultural systems, heavy reliance on rain-fed subsistence farming and low adoption of climate smart agricultural practices contribute to the sector's high levels of vulnerability. The situation is compounded by poor reliability of, and access to, climate data and information to support adaptation actions. Climate change is likely to further exacerbate water-stressed catchments across Africa - for example the Rufiji basin in Tanzania - owing to diversity of land uses, and complex sociopolitical challenges.
To reduce the impacts of climate change on African countries, adaption measures are required at multiple scales - ranging from local to national and regional levels. The first generation of adaptation projects in Africa can be largely characterised as small-scale in nature, focused on targeted investments in agriculture and diffusion of technologies to support adaptive decision-making. More recently, programming efforts have re-oriented towards larger and more coordinated efforts, tackling issues that spanning multiple sectors.
At the regional level, regional policies and actions in support of adaptation across Africa are still in their infancy. The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) highlights examples of various regional climate change action plans, including those developed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Lake Victoria Basin Committee. At the national level, many early adaptation initiatives were coordinated through National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) or National Climate Change Response Strategies (NCCRS). Implementation has been slow however, with mixed success in delivery. Integration of climate change with wider economic and development planning remains limited but growing.
At the subnational level, many provincial and municipal authorities are also developing their own strategies, for example the Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy. Yet, levels of technical capacity and resources available to implement plans are generally low. There has been considerable attention across Africa given to implementing community-based adaptation projects. There is broad agreement that support to local-level adaptation is best achieved by starting with existing local adaptive capacity, and engaging with indigenous knowledge and practices.
The IPCC highlights a number of successful approaches to promote effective adaptation in Africa, outlining five common principles. These include:
(1) Enhancing support for autonomous forms of adaptation;
(2) Increasing attention to the cultural, ethical, and rights considerations of adaptation (especially through active participation of women, youth, and poor and vulnerable people in adaptation activities);
(3) Combining “soft path” options and flexible and iterative learning approaches with technological and infrastructural approaches (including integration of scientific, local, and indigenous knowledge in developing adaptation strategies);
(4) Focusing on enhancing resilience and implementing low-regrets adaptation options; and
(5) Building adaptive management and encouraging process of social and institutional learning into adaptation activities.
Key adaptations in northern Africa relate to increased risk of water scarcity (resulting from a combination of climate change affecting water availability and increasing demand). Reduced water availability, in turn, interacts with increasing temperatures to create need for adaptation among rainfed wheat production and changing disease risk (for example from leishmaniasis. Most government actions for adaptation centre on water supply side, for example through desalination, inter-basin transfers and dam construction. Migration has also been observed to act as an adaptation for individuals and households in northern Africa. Like many regions, however, examples of adaptation action (as opposed to intentions to act, or vulnerability assessments) from north Africa are limited - a systematic review published in 2011 showed that only 1 out of 87 examples of reported adaptations came from North Africa.
Climate change is a reality in West Africa. Water availability is a particular risk, with extreme events such as drought leading to humanitarian crises associated with periodic famines, food insecurity, population displacement, migration and conflict and insecurity. Adaptation strategies can be environmental, cultural/agronomic and economic.
Adaptation strategies are evident in the agriculture sector, some of which are developed or promoted by formal research or experimental stations. Indigenous agricultural adaptations observed in northern Ghana are crop-related, soil-related or involve cultural practices. Livestock-based agricultural adaptations include indigenous strategies such as adjusting quantities of feed to feed livestock, storing enough feed during the abundant period to be fed to livestock during the lean season, treating wounds with solution of certain barks of trees, and keeping local breeds which are already adapted to the climate of northern Ghana; and livestock production technologies to include breeding, health, feed/nutrition and housing.
The choice and adoption of adaptation strategies is variously contingent on demographic factors such as the household size, age, gender and education of the household head; economic factors such as income source; farm size; knowledge of adaptation options; and expectation of future prospects.
In Eastern Africa adaptation to climate change options are varied, including improving use of climate information, actions in the agriculture and livestock sector, and in the water sector.
Making better use of climate and weather data, weather forecasts, and other management tools enables timely information and preparedness of people in the sectors such as agriculture that depend on weather outcomes. This means mastering hydro-meteorological information and early warning systems. It has been argued that the indigenous communities possess knowledge on historical climate changes through environmental signs (e.g. appearance and migration of certain birds, butterflies etc.), and thus promoting of indigenous knowledge has been considered an important adaptation strategy.
Adaptation in the agricultural sector includes increased use of manure and crop-specific fertilizer, use of resistant varieties of crops and early maturing crops. Manure, and especially animal manure is thought to retain water and have essential microbes that breakdown nutrients making them available to plants, as compared to synthetic fertilizers that have compounds which when released to the environment due to over-use contribute to the green-house gases. One major vulnerability of the agriculture sector in Eastern Africa is the dependence on rain-fed agriculture. An adaptation solution is adoption of efficient irrigation mechanisms and efficient water storage and use. Drip irrigation has especially been identified as a water efficient option as it directs the water to the root of the plant with minimal wastage. Countries like Rwanda and Kenya, have prioritized developing irrigated areas by gravity water systems from perennial streams and rivers in zones often vulnerable to prolonged droughts. During heavy rains, many areas experience flooding resulting from bare grounds due to deforestation and little land cover. Adaptation strategies proposed for this is promoting conservation efforts on land protection, by planting indigenous trees, protecting water catchment areas and managing grazing lands through zoning.
For the livestock sector, adaptation options include managing production through sustainable land and pasture management in the ecosystems. This includes promoting hay and fodder production methods e.g. through irrigation and use of waste treated water, and focusing on investing in hay storage for use during dry seasons. Keeping livestock is considered a livelihood rather than an economic activity. Throughout Eastern Africa Countries especially in the ASALs regions, it is argued that promoting commercialization of livestock, is an adaptation option. This involves adopting economic models in livestock feed production, animal traceability, promoting demand for livestock products such as meat, milk and leather and linking to niche markets to enhance businesses and provide disposable income. To commercialize the extensive livestock sector, there is thus need to involve programs that match animal species and breeds to appropriate environments,develop appropriate livestock marketing infrastructure (markets, finishing lots, holding grounds, abattoirs, etc.) and link this to serve the growing rural and urban markets as well as to emerging export markets.
In the water sector, the adaptation options are both for efficient use of water for household, animals and industrial consumption and protection of water sources. Campaigns such as planting indigenous trees in water catchment areas, controlling human activities near catchment areas especially farming and settlement have been carried out to help protect water resources and avail access to water for communities especially during climatic shocks.
There have been several initiatives at local (site-specific), local, national and regional scales aimed at strengthening to climate change. Some of these are: The Regional Climate Change Programme (RCCP), SASSCAL, ASSAR, UNDP Climate Change Adaptation, RESILIM, FRACTAL. South Africa implemented the Long-Term Adaptation Scenarios Flagship Research Programme (LTAS) from April 2012 to June 2014. This research also produced factsheets and a technical report covering the SADC region entitled "Climate Change Adaptation: Perspectives for the Southern African Development Community (SADC)".
Complementary to mitigation
IPCC Working Group II, the United States National Academy of Sciences, the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction Office, and other science policy experts agree that while mitigating the emission of greenhouse gases is important, adaptation to the effects of global warming will still be necessary. Some, like the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers, worry that mitigation efforts will largely fail. The IPCC group points out that the world's ability to mitigate global warming is an economic and political challenge. Given that greenhouse gas levels are already elevated, the lag of decades between emissions and some impacts, and the significant economic and political challenges of success, the IPCC group points out that it is uncertain how much climate change will be mitigated.
Developing countries are the least able to adapt to climate change. Doing so depends on such factors as wealth, technology, education, infrastructure, access to resources, management capabilities, acceptance of the existence of climate change and the consequent need for action, and sociopolitical will.
After assessing the literature on sustainability and climate change, scientists concluded with high confidence that up to the year 2050, an effort to cap GHG emissions at 550 ppm would benefit developing countries significantly. This was judged to be especially the case when combined with enhanced adaptation. By 2100, however, it was still judged likely that there would be significant climate change impacts. This was judged to be the case even with aggressive mitigation and significantly enhanced adaptive capacity.
The IPCC group also pointed out that climate change adaptation measures can reinforce and be reinforced by efforts to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty.
A book by the Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag on 'conflict-sensitive adaptation' sheds light on unintended damaging effects of climate adaptation measures. For example, when disadvantaged groups are left out of the planning process, adaptation methods such as agricultural or water programmes may increase vulnerabilities. The book draws on findings from Africa and outlines how conflict-sensitive adaptation activities should look that are cognizant of the conflict-effects adaptation may have. The authors provide a "Memorandum for Action on Adaptation for Peace and Stability" that outlines principles to support processes for adaptation and peace such as the establishment of peace and conflict assessments for adaptation programmes, mainstreaming climate change adaptation in conflict-prone contexts, applying conflict sensitive approaches or provisions to ensure participatory processes to design and implement adaptation measures.
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- Western Cape Government (2014). "Western Cape Climate Change Response Strategy" (PDF).
- Ofoegbu, Chidiebere; Chirwa, Paxie; Francis, Joseph; Babalola, Folaranmi (15 May 2017). "Assessing vulnerability of rural communities to climate change: A review of implications for forest-based livelihoods in South Africa". International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management. 9 (3): 374–386. doi:10.1108/IJCCSM-04-2016-0044. hdl:2263/61659. ISSN 1756-8692.
- Hegazy, A.K.; Medany, M.A.; Kabiel, H.F.; Maez, M.M. (2008). "Spatial and temporal projected distribution of four crop plants in Egypt". Natural Resources Forum. 32 (4): 316–326. doi:10.1111/j.1477-8947.2008.00205.x.
- Drine, I. (2011). "Climate Change Compounding Risks in North Africa". UNU-WIDER Working Paper. United Nations University-World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER). No. 2011/32.
- Bounoua, L.; Kahime, K.; Houti, L.; Blakey, T.; Ebi, K.L.; Zhang, P.; Imhoff, M.L.; Thome, K.J.; Dudek, C. (2013). "Linking climate to incidence of zoonotic cutaneous Leishmaniasis (L. major) in Pre-Saharan North Africa". International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 10 (8): 3172–3191. doi:10.3390/ijerph10083172. PMC 3774431. PMID 23912199.
- Toumi, Amine; Chlif, Sadok; Bettaieb, Jihene; Alaya, Nissaf Ben; Boukthir, Aicha; Ahmadi, Zaher E.; Salah, Afif Ben (1 May 2012). Ozcel, Mehmet Ali (ed.). "Temporal Dynamics and Impact of Climate Factors on the Incidence of Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Central Tunisia". PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 6 (5): e1633. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001633. ISSN 1935-2735. PMC 3341328. PMID 22563513.
- Sowers, Jeannie; Vengosh, Avner; Weinthal, Erika (1 February 2011). "Climate change, water resources, and the politics of adaptation in the Middle East and North Africa" (PDF). Climatic Change. 104 (3): 599–627. Bibcode:2011ClCh..104..599S. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9835-4. hdl:10161/6460. ISSN 1573-1480.
- Scheffran, Jürgen; Marmer, Elina; Sow, Papa (1 April 2012). "Migration as a contribution to resilience and innovation in climate adaptation: Social networks and co-development in Northwest Africa". Applied Geography. The Health Impacts of Global Climate Change: A Geographic Perspective. 33: 119–127. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.10.002. ISSN 0143-6228.
- Berrang-Ford, Lea; Ford, James D.; Peterson, Jaclyn (2011). "Are we adapting to climate change?". Global Environmental Change. 21: 25–33. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.09.012.
- Giddens, Anthony (2009). The Politics of Climate Change. Polity Press, Cambridge. Cambridge.
- Shaibu M. T., Alhassan S. I., Panyan E. K., Avornyo F. K., Konlan S. P. and Salifu S. (2018). "An Assessment of Institutional Importance of Climate Change Adaptation in the Volta River Basin of Northern Ghana". West African Journal of Applied Ecology. 26(SI): 27–40.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Kuwornu, J. K. M., Al-Hassan, R. M., Etwire, P. M. and Osei-Owusu, Y. (2013). "Adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers to climate change and variability: Evidence from northern Ghana". Information Management and Business Review. 5 (5): 233–239.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Kuwornu, J. K. M., Al-Hassan, R. M., Etwire, P. M. and Osei-Owusu, Y. (2013). "Adaptation strategies of smallholder farmers to climate change and variability: Evidence from northern Ghana". Information Management and Business Review. 5 (5): 233–239.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Alhassan S. I., Shaibu M. T., Kuwornu J. K. M. and Damba O. T. (2018). "Factors Influencing Farmers' Awareness and Choice of Indigenous Practices in Adapting to Climate Change and Variability in Northern Ghana". West African Journal of Applied Ecology. 26 (SI): 1–13.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Shaibu M. T., Alhassan I. S., Avornyo F. K., Lawson E. T., Mensah A. & Gordon C. (2019). Perceptions and Determinants of the Adoption of Indigenous Strategies for Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from Smallholder Livestock Farmers, North-West Ghana: In Editor: Kuwornu, J. K. M., Climate Change in Sub-saharan Africa: The vulnerability and adaptation of food supply chains actors. Vernon Press. pp. 223–240.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Ansah, I. G. K., Eib, D. and Amoako, R. (2015). "Socioeconomic Determinants of Livestock Production Technology Adoption in Northern Ghana". Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics and Sociology. 5 (3): 166–182. doi:10.9734/AJAEES/2015/15996.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Ansah, I. G. K., Eib, D. and Amoako, R. (2015). "Socioeconomic Determinants of Livestock Production Technology Adoption in Northern Ghana". Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics and Sociology. 5 (3): 166–182. doi:10.9734/AJAEES/2015/15996.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Apata, T. G. (2011). "Factors influencing the perception and choice of adaptation measures to climate change among farmers in Nigeria. Evidence from farm households in Southwest Nigeria". Environmental Economics. 2 (4): 74–83.
- Snow, John (28 October 2016). A New Vision for Weather and Climate Services in Africa. UNDP.
- Republic of Rwanda. "NAPA-RWANDA" (PDF).
- Abuya, Robina; Said, Mohammed; Atela, Joanes; Muhwanga, Joseph; Moiko, Stephen; Atieno, Fred; Ndiritu, Simon (2019). "Contexualising Pathways to Resilience in Kenya's ASALs under the Big Four Agenda". Kenya Markets Trust. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Political Economy Analysis of Kenya's Livestock Sector (Abridged Version)". Kenya Markets Trust. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Kenya Meat End-Market Trends Study". Kenya Markets Trust. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Regional Climate Change Programme, Southern Africa • OneWorld". OneWorld. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "SASSCAL – Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management". Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Home | Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions". www.assar.uct.ac.za. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- "Southern Africa | UNDP Climate Change Adaptation". www.adaptation-undp.org. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Risk, Vulnerability & Resilience in the Limpopo River basin: Climate Change, water and biodiversity – a synthesis. OneWorld. 2015.
- Resilience in the Limpopo Basin (RESILIM) Program. Chemonics International Inc. 2017.
- "FRACTAL — Future Resilience for African CiTies And Lands". Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Climate change adaptation: Southern African Development Community (SADC) (PDF).
- Engineering, and Public Policy (U.S.) Panel on Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming Committee on Science (1992). Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming: Mitigation, Adaptation, and the Science Base. National Academies Press. p. 944. ISBN 978-0-309-04386-1. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
- "Themes and Issues in Disaster Risk Reduction" (PDF). UNISDR. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Adaptation To Global Climate Change Is An Essential Response To A Warming Planet". 8 February 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- Mukherjee, Sarah (13 February 2009). "CO2 reduction treaties useless". BBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- "2010 Releases". Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
- Ruth, M.; Ibarrarian, M. E. (2009). Distribution Impacts of Climate Change and Disasters: Concepts and Cases. Northampton: Edward Elgar.
- Yohe, G.W. (2007). "Executive summary. In (book chapter): Perspectives on climate change and sustainability". Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (M.L. Parry et al., (eds.)). Print version: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, N.Y., U.S.A.. Web version: IPCC website. ISBN 978-0-521-88010-7. Archived from the original on 2 May 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- Bob, Urmilla and Salomé Bronkhorst (Eds.): Conflict-sensitive adaptation to climate change in Africa. Climate Diplomacy Series. Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag.
- Taenzler, Dennis. "Adaptation as Pillar of a New Climate Diplomacy". Climate Diplomacy. adelphi. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
Relevant IPCC reports
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced two separate reports: Climate Change 2001: Mitigation and Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
Relevant African sources
- Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project combined interdisciplinary scientific research at regional and thematic levels, capacity building, and stakeholder engagement to improve understanding of the barriers and enablers to effective climate adaptation.
- African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) is a pioneering development research think tank on harnessing applications of science, technology and innovation policies for sustainable development in Africa.
- African Climate Policy Centre (ACCP) goal is to contribute to poverty reduction through successful mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Africa and to improve the capacity of African countries to participate effectively in multilateral climate negotiations.
- African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis 2050 (AMMA-2050) aim to address the challenges of understanding how the monsoon will change in future decades, to 2050, and how this information can be most effectively used to support climate-compatible development in the region.
- Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) builds resilience by supporting collaborative research on climate change adaptation to inform adaptation policy and practice. The four consortium are ASSAR, DECCMA, PRISE and HI-AWARE.
- Covenant of Mayors Office for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoMO SSA) initiative supports Sub-Saharan cities in their fight against climate change and in their efforts in ensuring access to clean energy.
- Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) aims are to evaluate the effectiveness of adaptation options including migration in deltas in Africa and Asia, and to deliver policy support for sustainable, gender-sensitive adaptation.
- Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) was established to support research and to address sustainable development throughout arid lands.
- Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) aims to generate fundamentally new climate science focused on Africa, and to ensure that this science has an impact on human development across the continent. FCFA is implemented by five international research teams working across the African continent: AMMA-2050 , FRACTAL, IMPALA , HyCRISTAL , and UMFULA .
- Improving Model Processes for African cLimAte (IMPALA) project has developed a very high-resolution pan-African climate model that better captures key processes and local-scale weather phenomena including extremes, and provides new understanding of the roles played by these processes in African climate variability and change.
- Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa (HyCRISTAL) was aimed to tackle uncertainties that exist around climate change projections for the region, concentrating in particular on what they mean for the availability and management of water.
- Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is a continental coalition of Civil Society Organizations whose goal is to mobilize and empower African civil society to ensure realization of environmental and climate justice for all people in Africa.
- Pathways to Resilience In Semi-Arid Economies (PRISE) aims to generates new knowledge about how economic development in semi-arid regions can be made more equitable and resilient to climate change, in order to deepen decision-makers’understanding of the threats and opportunities that semi-arid economies face in relation to climate change.
- Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) initiative aims to put possible solutions to the many challenges of global change to develop and produce scientifically sound findings and sustainable socio-economic benefits for the entire Southern Africa region.
- Uncertainty reduction in Models For Understanding deveLopment Applications (UMFULA) research project that aims to improve climate information for decision-making in central and southern Africa, with a particular focus on Tanzania and Malawi.
- West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASSCAL) is a research-focused Climate Service Centre designed to help tackle this challenge and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to climate change and increased variability in West Africa.
Relevant United States sources
- US Global Change Research Program
- US National Assessment—Preparing for a Changing Climate report
- California Regional Assessment: Preparing for Climate Change: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for California (not on Federal site) 2002
- The US Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) published two reports containing detailed assessments of mitigation and adaptation strategies
- "Changing by Degrees" investigates options for controlling emissions of carbon dioxide, the most troublesome anthropogenic greenhouse gas (OTA 1991).
- "Preparing for an Uncertain Climate" examines how managed natural resource systems—such as water, agriculture, and forests—might adapt to changing environmental conditions brought about by global warming (OTA 1993).
- Adaptation Clearinghouse of the Georgetown Climate Center
Other government sources
Several countries have taken a lead in climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. Their web sites contain reports, strategies, and tools which other countries can customize to their own situation.
- The United Kingdom's Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP)
- The Canadian National Assessment: From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007 discusses current and future risks and opportunities that climate change presents to Canada, with a focus on human and managed systems.
Other relevant sources
In addition to government and United Nations reports, an extensive research literature assesses options for response to global warming. Much of this literature addresses the potential economic costs associated with different strategies.
- The World Bank has worked with developing countries to support adaptation planning since 1999. It has also analyzed how to mainstream adaptation planning into its loan and grant programs. This page has publications to download
- The Asian Development Bank has a series of studies on the Economics of Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific region. The studies provide cost analysis of both adaptation and mitigation measures.
- Indigo Development has a page of links to government and research web sites on climate adaptation
- Oxfam has issued a report detailing the need for high emissions countries to support adaptation in developing countries: Adapting to climate change, What's needed in poor countries, and who should pay Oxfam Briefing Paper 104
- The Eldis platform, run by the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex has literature on adaptation and sustainable development
- The WEAP (Water Evaluation And Planning system) assists water resources researchers and planners in assessing impacts of and adaptations to climate change.
- The weADAPT platform encourages the collaborative development of tools for adaptation and sharing experiences from adaptation projects
- The UNDP runs the adaptation learning mechanism which provides country case studies of adaptation.
- The UN-CECAR research and development of courses on climate change and adaptation
- The UNFCCC has a database on local adaptation measures and information on the international climate negotiations
- "Economic Approaches to Greenhouse Warming" provides a summary of Yale economist William Nordhaus' ideas (1991). Nordhaus questions the motivation for countries to pursue relatively costly measures for responding to global warming given current scientific uncertainty about the problem's magnitude and estimates potential economic impacts may not be that high, particularly for developed economies.
- Economist William R. Cline offers an opposing view, arguing potential economic costs of unabated global warming could be very high. In the monograph, "Global Warming: The Economic Stakes", Cline (1992) assesses the potential cost of damages from global warming and the cost of efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions.
- "Coping with Global Climate Change: The Role of Adaptation in the United States" Pew Center on Global Climate Change, June 2004.
- National Center for Policy Analysis "Living with Global Warming". Archived from the original on 14 September 2005.
- "Adaptation to Global Warming" James Titus
- "Climate's Long-Lost Twin" Richard Monastersky
- Heintz Foundation, 2007 A Survey of Climate Change Adaptation Planning pdf
- "Adapt or Die: The Science, Politics and Economics of Climate Change" Profile Books, December 2003 ISBN 1-86197-795-6
- USDA Economic Research Service Economics of Sequestering Carbon in the U.S. Agricultural Sector
- USDA Economic Research Service Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change: Issues of Longrun Sustainability
- USDA Economic Research Service World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations
- "Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming." United States National Academy of Sciences, 1991.
- "Water Allocation in a Changing Climate: Institutions and Adaptation" Springer Netherlands, ISSN 0165-0009 (Paper) 1573-1480 (Online) Volume 35, Number 2, February 1997. pp. 157 – 177.
- Risks, opportunities, and adaptation to climate change Joel D. Scheraga, Anne E. Grambsch, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- McMichael et al. (2003). Climate Change and Human Health – Risk and Responses. WHO, UNEP, WMO, Geneva. ISBN 92-4-159081-5.
- Müller, B. (2002) Equity in Climate Change. The Great Divide. Oxford Institute for Energy Studies . Oxford, UK
- House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, 2nd Report of Session 2005-6 The Economics of Climate Change. Volume I: Report pdf
- Rivington M, Matthews KB, Buchan K and Miller D (2005) "An integrated assessment approach to investigate options for mitigation and adaptation to climate change at the farm-scale", NJF Seminar 380, Odense, Denmark, 7–8 November 2005, via Macaulay Institute's Land Allocation Decision Support System.
- Ludwig, Fulco, Pavel Kabat, Henk van Schaik and Michael van der Valk (2009) Climate Change Adaptation in the Water Sector, Earthscan, London, 320 pp, ISBN 978-1-84407-652-9.
- Amy Seidl Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Warming Beacon Press (7 June 2011) ISBN 978-0-8070-8598-1
- Publications by the Co-operative Programme on Water and Climate (CPWC)
- Henfrey, T. & G. Penha-Lopes, 2015. Permaculture and Climate Change Adaptation. Permanent Publications, East Meon.
- Resilience 2 to 1 – Volunteer multi-disciplinary group of educators, researchers and professionals focused on the issue of resilience for Canada during a changing climate.
- The United Nations Development Programme's Climate Change Adaptation Portal includes studies on climate change adaptation in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Asia and the Pacific.