Adaptation to global warming

Adaptation to global warming

Adaptation to global warming and climate change is a response to climate change that seeks to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change effects.[1] Even if emissions are stabilized relatively soon, climate change and its effects will last many years, and adaptation will be necessary.[2] Climate change adaptation is especially important in developing countries since those countries are predicted to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change.[3] That is, the capacity and potential for humans to adapt (called adaptive capacity) is unevenly distributed across different regions and populations, and developing countries generally have less capacity to adapt (Schneider et al., 2007).[4] Adaptive capacity is closely linked to social and economic development (IPCC, 2007).[5] The economic costs of adaptation to climate change are likely to cost billions of dollars annually for the next several decades, though the amount of money needed is unknown.[6] Adaptation will be more difficult for larger magnitudes and higher rates of climate change.

Another policy response to climate change, known as climate change mitigation (Verbruggen, 2007)[7] is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or enhance the removal of these gases from the atmosphere (enhancing carbon sinks).[8] Even the most effective reductions in emissions, however, would not prevent further climate change impacts, making the need for adaptation unavoidable (Klein et al., 2007).[9] In a literature assessment, Klein et al. (2007) assessed options for adaptation. They concluded, with very high confidence, that in the absence of mitigation efforts, the effects of climate change would reach such a magnitude as to make adaptation impossible for some natural systems, e.g., ecosystems. For human systems, the economic and social costs of unmitigated climate change would be very high.


Effects of Climate Change

The projected effects for the environment and for human life are numerous and varied. The main effect is an increasing global average temperature. 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, the opening of new 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 Third Assessment Report by Working Group II.[10] The 2007 contribution of Working Group II detailing the impacts of global warming for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has been summarized for policymakers.[11]

Necessity for adaptation

In the Feb. 8, 2007 issue of Nature, a team of science policy experts argue that adapting to climate change would be a more effective means of dealing with global warming than reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.[12]

National Academy of Sciences

One prominent attempt to address adaptation was a 1991 report by the United States National Academy of Sciences, "Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming." The National Academy report cautioned that agricultural adaptation will be essential in a greenhouse world.[13]

IPCC Working Group II

IPCC Working Group II argues that mitigation and adaptation should be complementary components of a response strategy to global warming. Their report makes the following observations:

  1. Adaptation is a necessary strategy at all scales to complement climate change mitigation efforts.
  2. Those with the least resources have the least capacity to adapt and are the most vulnerable
  3. Adaptation, sustainable development, and enhancement of equity can be mutually reinforcing.[14]

Adaptation is a necessary strategy

Because of the current and projected climate disruption precipitated by high levels of greenhouse gas emissions by the industrialized nations, adaptation is a necessary strategy at all scales to complement climate change mitigation efforts because we cannot be sure that all climate change can be mitigated. And indeed the odds are quite high that in the long run more warming is inevitable, given the high level of GHGs in the atmosphere, and the (several decade) delay between emissions and impact.

Adaptation has the potential to reduce adverse impacts of climate change and to enhance beneficial impacts, but will incur costs and will not prevent all damages. Extremes, variability, and rates of change are all key features in addressing vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, not simply changes in average climate conditions.[citation needed]

Human and natural systems will to some degree adapt autonomously to climate change.[citation needed] Planned adaptation can supplement autonomous adaptation, though there are more options and greater possibility for offering incentives in the case of adaptation of human systems than in the case of adaptation to protect natural systems.[15]

Disadvantaged nations

The ability of human systems to adapt to and cope with climate change 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. Populations and communities are highly variable in their endowments of these attributes, with Developing nations being among those worst-placed to adapt to global warming.

Mutual reinforcement

Many communities and regions that are vulnerable to climate change are also under pressure from forces such as population growth, resource depletion, and poverty. Policies that lessen pressures on resources, improve management of environmental risks, and increase the welfare of the poorest members of society can simultaneously advance sustainable development and equity, enhance adaptive capacity, and reduce vulnerability to climate and other stresses. Inclusion of climatic risks in the design and implementation of national and international development initiatives such as polar cities can promote equity and development that is more sustainable and that reduces vulnerability to climate change.[16]


Yohe et al. (2007) assessed the literature on sustainability and climate change.[17] With high confidence, they suggested 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.

Tradeoffs and economics

Adaptation and mitigation can be viewed as two competing policy responses, with tradeoffs between the two. The other tradeoff is with climate change impacts. In practice, however, the actual tradeoffs are debatable (Schneider et al., 2001).[18] This is because the people who bear emission reduction costs or benefits are often different from those who pay or benefit from adaptation measures.

Economists, using cost-benefit analysis, have attempted to calculate an "optimal" balance of the costs and benefits between climate change impacts, adaptation, and mitigation (Toth et al., 2001).[19] There are difficulties in doing this calculation, for example, future climate change damages are uncertain, as are the future costs of adaptation.

Also, deciding what "optimal" is depends on value judgements made by the economist doing the study (Azar, 1998).[20] For example, how to value impacts occurring in different regions and different times, and "non-market" impacts, e.g., damages to ecosystems (Smith et al., 2001).[21] Economics cannot provide definitive answers to these questions over valuation, and some valuations may be viewed as being controversial (Banuri et al., 1996, pp. 87, 99).[22]

Some reviews indicate that policymakers are uncomfortable with using the results of this type of economic analysis (Klein et al., 2007).[23] This is due to the uncertainties surrounding cost estimates for climate change damages, adaptation, and mitigation. Another type of analysis is based on a risk-based approach to the problem. Stern (2007) (referred to by Klein et al., 2007), for example, used such an approach. He argued that adaptation would play an important role in climate policy, but not in an explicit trade-off against mitigation.


In the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which most countries are Parties to (UNFCCC, n.d.),[24] countries have made commitments to assist those most vulnerable in adapting to climate change (Banuri et al., 1996, p. 98).[22] The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), set up as part of the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention, is the main source of income for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund. This fund was established in 2007 (World Bank, 2010, pp. 262–263).[25] The CDM is subject to a 2% levy, which could raise between $300 million and $600 million over the 2008-12 period. The actual amount raised will depend on the carbon price.

Although established under the Kyoto Protocol, the Adaptation Fund has been very slow to operationalize and has not as yet (August 2010) disbursed any funding. The call for Proposals was issued in April 2010[26]

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

In February 2009, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (UK) issued a report in which they expressed pessimism about the ability of any international agreement, such as Kyoto Treaty to reduce carbon emissions. While it did not dismiss mitigation policy all together, it stated that they are "realistic enough to recognise that global CO2 emissions are not reducing and our climate is changing so unless we adapt, we are likely to face a difficult future." [27][28]

Conceptualising adaptation

Adaptation can be defined as adjustments of a system to reduce vulnerability and to increase the resilience of system to change, in this case in the climate system.[29] Adaptation occurs at a range of inter-linking scales, and can either occur in anticipation of change (anticipatory adaptation), or be a response to those changes (reactive adaptation).[30] 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.[29]

Adaptive capacity and vulnerability are important concepts for understanding adaptation; vulnerability can be seen as the context in which adaptation takes place, and adaptive capacity is the ability or potential of a system to respond successfully to climate variability and change, in order to reduce adverse impacts and take advantage of new opportunities.[29] Those societies that can respond to change quickly and successfully have a high adaptive capacity.[31] High adaptive capacity does not necessarily translate into successful adaptation. For example the adaptive capacity in W. Europe is high, and the risks of warmer winters increasing the range of livestock diseases was well documented, but many parts of Europe were still badly affected by outbreaks of the Bluetongue virus in livestock in 2007.

Adaptive capacity is driven by factors operating at many different interlinked scales, and it is important to understand the ways in which the different drivers of adaptive capacity interact. Physical constraints are important, but in most cases it is social processes which increase or decrease adaptive capacity; it can be said that adaptive capacity is socially constructed.[31] The social drivers of adaptive capacity are varied but may include broad structures such as economic and political processes, as well as processes which operate at a very local scale, such as access to decision-making and the structure of social networks and relationships within a community. Adaptive capacity at a local scale is constrained by larger scale processes. For example a farmer’s adaptive capacity will not only depend on access to resources (both physical and social) within the community which allow a crop to be grown successfully, but also the effect of macro-scale economic processes on the price received for the crop.[30] Gender is another factor which is important in determining adaptive capacity constrain adaptive capacity and vulnerability,[32] for example women may have participation in decision-making, or be constrained by lower levels of education.[29]

The social construction of adaptive capacity is very important when thinking about the risks and impacts of a changing climate. It is not just the change in climate which will affect vulnerability and livelihoods, but the way that these changes are negotiated through complex social systems. A 10% decrease in rainfall may be acceptable and manageable to members of a community who have access to improved agricultural techniques, or whose livelihoods are in some way diversified, whereas marginalised members of the community may not be able to cope with these changes.[30] Adaptation can be seen as a social and institutional process that involves reflecting on and responding to current trends and projected changes in climate.[33]

Both temporal and spatial scales are very important in thinking about adaptation, as is the frame of reference taken for looking at adaptation. 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 W. 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[34]). 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.[30]

It is clear from the literature that people have always adapted to a changing climate and that coping strategies already exist in many communities, for example changing sowing times or adopting new water-saving techniques.[34] 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 indigenous 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.[29] In some cases however this will be not be enough to adapt to new conditions which are outside the range of those previously experienced, and new techniques will be needed.[31]

Criteria for assessing responses

James Titus[who?] identifies the following criteria[35] 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?


The United Nations Development Programme estimated that an additional USD 86 billion per year would be needed in 2015.[36]

According to UNFCCC estimates in 2007, costs of adaptation to climate change would cost $49–171 Billion per annum globally by 2030, of which a significant share of the additional investment and financial flows, USD 28-67 billion would be needed in 2030 in non-Annex I Parties.[37] This represents a doubling of current official development assistance (ODA).

This estimate has been critiqued by Parry et al. (2009), in a joint study by IIED and the Grantham Institute, which argues that the UNFCCC estimate underestimates the cost of adaptation to climate change by a factor of 2 or 3.[38] Moreover, sectors such as tourism, mining, energy and retail were not included in the UNFCCC estimate.

The more recent World Bank Study on the 'Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change' found that the costs of adaptation would be in the range of $75–100 Billion per year between 2010 and 2050; with higher estimates under the wetter global scenario than the drier scenario, assuming that warming will be about 2 degrees by 2050.[39]

The benefits of strong, early action on mitigation considerably outweigh the costs.[40] The Copenhagen Accord was agreed on in order to create a commitment by developed countries to provide:[41]

new and additional resources...approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010- 2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation... [and] in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.

However, a key point of contention between states at the UNFCC Copenhagen Climate Summit was who was to foot the bill and if aid is to be given, how is it to affect other levels of development aid.[41] The concept of additionality has thus arisen and the EU has asked its member states to come up with definitions of what they understand additionality to mean, the four main definitions are:[41]

  1. Climate finance classified as aid, but additional to (over and above) the ‘0.7%’ ODA target;
  2. Increase on previous year's Official Development Assistance (ODA) spent on climate change mitigation;
  3. Rising ODA levels that include climate change finance but where it is limited to a specified percentage; and
  4. Increase in climate finance not connected to ODA.

The main point being that there is a conflict between the OECD states budget deficit cuts, the need to help developing countries adapt to develop sustainably and the need to ensure that funding does not come from cutting aid to other important Millennium Development Goals.[41]

Adaptation mechanisms

Scheraga and Grambsch[42] identify 9 fundamental principles to be considered when designing adaptation policy.

  1. The effects of climate change vary by region.
  2. The effects of climate change may vary across demographic groups.
  3. Climate change poses both risks and opportunities.
  4. 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.
  5. Adaptation comes at a cost.
  6. Adaptive responses vary in effectiveness, as demonstrated by current efforts to cope with climate variability.
  7. The systemic nature of climate impacts complicates the development of adaptation policy.
  8. Maladaptation can result in negative effects that are as serious as the climate-induced effects that are being avoided.
  9. Many opportunities for adaptation make sense whether or not the effects of climate change are realized.

Methods of adaptation

Examples of adaptation include defending against rising sea levels through better flood defenses, and changing patterns of land use like avoiding more vulnerable areas for housing.

Enhancing adaptive capacity

In a literature assessment, Smit et al. (2001) concluded that enhanced adaptive capacity would reduce vulnerability to climate change.[43] In their view, activities that enhance adaptive capacity are essentially equivalent to activities that promote sustainable development. These activities include:[44]

Adaptation through local planning

Local landuse and municipal planning represent important avenues for adaptation to global warming. These forms of planning are recognised as central to avoiding the impacts of climate related hazards such as floods and heat stress, planning for demographic and consumption transition, and plans for ecosystem conservation.[45] This type of planning is different from the National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs) which are intended to be frameworks for prioritizing adaptation needs.[46] At the local scale, municipalities are at the coal face of adaptation where impacts are experienced in the forms of inundation, bushfires, heatwaves and rising sea levels.[47]

Cities are planning for adapting to global warming and climate change. The New York Times began a series of articles on this subject with Chicago's adaptation initiatives being highlighted.[48] Projects include changing to heat tolerant tree varieties, changing to water permeable pavements to absorb higher rainfalls and adding air conditioning in public schools. New York and other cities are involved in similar planning.

Adaptation through local planning occurs in two distinct modes. The first is strategic planning, which is important but not unique to local governments. At the local scale it fosters community vision, aspirational goals and place-making, along with defining pathways to achieve these goals. The second form is land-use planning, and is focused on the allocation of space to balance economic prosperity with acceptable living standards and the conservation of natural resources. Although these two types of planning are quite different in practice, and in many cases are managed by different departments, we propose that both are highly important to climate change adaptation, and can contribute to achieving adaptation at the local scale.[49] Significant constraints are recognised to hinder adaptation through planning, including limited resources, lack of information, competing planning agendas and complying with requirements from other levels of government.[50]

Planning for rising sea levels is one of the key challenges for local planning in response to climate change. Many national governments around the world have attempted to address the problem of rising sea levels through policy and planning reforms designed to increase adaptive capacity.[51]

Agricultural production

A significant effect of global climate change is the altering of global rainfall patterns, with certain effects on agriculture.[52] Extended drought can cause the failure of small and marginal farms with resultant economic, political and social disruption.

However, such events have previously occurred in human history independent of global climate change. In recent decades, global trade has created distribution networks capable of delivering surplus food to where it is needed, thus reducing local impact.[52] There are also several ways to adapt to and minimize the disruptive effects of rainfall patterns.

Drought tolerant crop varieties

Agriculture of any kind is strongly influenced by the availability of water. Climate change will modify rainfall, evaporation, runoff, and soil moisture storage. 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. As a result, there will be a need to develop crop varieties with greater drought tolerance.

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.

Rainwater storage

One strategy involves adapting urban areas to increasingly severe storms by increasing rainwater storage (domestic water butts, unpaved gardens etc.) and increasing the capacity of stormwater systems (and also separating stormwater from blackwater, so that overflows in peak periods do not contaminate rivers).

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.[53]

Weather control

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.[54] On the timescale of several decades, new weather control techniques may become feasible which would allow control of extreme weather such as hurricanes.[55]

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through its Commission for Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) has issued a "STATEMENT ON WEATHER MODIFICATION" as well as "GUIDELINES FOR THE PLANNING OF WEATHER MODIFICATION ACTIVITIES" in 2007, stating among others that "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." [56]

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).[57]


In a literature assessment, Barker et al. (2007) described geoengineering as a type of mitigation policy.[58] IPCC (2007) concluded that geoengineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, remained largely unproven.[59] 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" (p. ix).[60] According to the study, the safest and most predictable method of moderating climate change is early action to reduce GHG emissions.

Scientists such as Ken Caldeira and Paul Crutzen,[61] suggest geoengineering techniques, which can be employed to change the climate deliberately and thus control some of the effects of global warming. These include:

  • Solar radiation management may be seen as an adaptation to global warming.[according to whom?] 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. This may be seen as an adaptation technique,[according to whom?] although by preventing Arctic methane release it may also have mitigation aspects as well.

Assisting disadvantaged nations

In 2000, there was a proposal made at the Sixth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change that called for the creation of an Adaptation Fund of $1 billion per year for developing countries, especially the least developed and small island states, to enable them to combat the consequences of climate change.

Many scientists, policy makers and the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report have agreed that disadvantaged nations, especially in the global south need more attention to the negative impacts of climate change. These regions are highly populated and people have generally lower adaptive capacity. A balance, however, between development and climate change mitigation and adaptation needs to be found.

In the global south, national governments are largely responsible for formulation and implementation of the adaptation plan, from local to the national level. In this context, a contradictory situation exists. National governments attach high priority to development polices and plans not climate change. Development agendas are driven by pre-existing problems such as poverty, malnutrition, food insecurity,[62] availability of drinking water, indebtness, illiteracy, unemployment, local resource conflicts, lower technological development etc. Here, it is important to recognize that if climate change phenomenon is not properly understood and coping strategies such as mitigation and adaptation are not adopted on timely manner, climate change impacts will exacerbate these pre-existing problems.

Hence, there is a need of exploring strategies of integration between the climate change plans and development plans in the global south. This integration should include principles such as social justice and equity, inclusion of marginal population in decision making, women’s participation and promotion of social cohesion. Inclusion of these principles will not only promote mitigation and adaptation to climate change but will also make development more distributive.

Collaborative research from the Institute of Development Studies draws links between adaptation and poverty to help develop an agenda for pro-poor adaptation that can inform climate-resilient poverty reduction. Adaptation to climate change will be "ineffective and inequitable if it fails to learn and build upon an understanding of the multidimensional and differentiated nature of poverty and vulnerability".[63] Poorer countries tend to be more seriously affected by climate change, yet have reduced assets and capacities with which to adapt. This has led to more activities to integrate adaptation within development and poverty reduction programmes. The rise of adaptation as a development issue has been influenced by concerns around minimising threats to progress on poverty reduction, notably the MDGs, and by the injustice of impacts that are felt hardest by those who have done least to contribute to the problem, framing adaptation as an equity and right issue.[64]


Recent literature has also put forward the concept of migration as a climate change coping mechanism. Climate change push factors are weighed against economic or social pull factors: the role of climate change in migration is thus not a linear one of cause and effect. Migration frequently requires would-be migrants to have access to social and financial capital, such as support networks in the chosen destination, and the funds to be able to move. It 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. 'Migration and Climate Change', a UNESCO publication, explores the dynamics of environmental migration and the role of migration as an adaptive response to climate change.[65]

Adaptation Finance

The aggregate of current climate change adaptation programs will not raise enough money to fund adaptation to climate change.[66] There are, however, several programs and proposals to finance adaptation to climate change in developing countries. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change runs a program called the Global Environmental Facility, which provides some funding for adaptation to least developed countries and small island states.[67] Under the GEF umbrella, the GEF Trust Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund, and the Special Climate Change Fund operate to carry out the climate change adaptation financing goals of the GEF.[67] There are several other climate change adaptation finance proposals, most of which employ official development assistance or ODA.[68] These proposals range from a World Bank program, to proposals involving auctioning of carbon allowances, to a global carbon or transportation tax, to compensation-based funding.[69] Other proposals suggest using market-based mechanisms, rather than ODA, such as a vulnerability reduction credit (VRC)[70] or a program similar to the Clean Development Mechanism,[71] to raise private money for climate change adaptation. The Copenhagen Accord, the most recent global climate change agreement, commits developed countries to goal of sending $110 billion to developing countries in assistance for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation through 2020.[72] This agreement, while not binding, would dwarf current amounts dedicated to adaptation in developing countries. This climate change fund is called the Green Climate Fund from the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference.[73]

Adaptation measures by country

Numerous countries have held inquiries into and have planned, or started adaptation measures including Australia is still trying to find more out. The state of California has also issued a document titled "2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy Discussion Draft" that summarizes the best known science on climate change impacts in seven specific sectors and provides recommendations on how to manage against those threats.[74] Poorer communities have gotten help with climate adaptation in places like Bangladesh as well.[75][76][77][78]

National Adaptation Programme of Action

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) helps least developed countries (LDCs) identify climate change adaptation needs by funding the development of National Adaptation Programme of Action(NAPA). NAPAs are meant to provide LDCs with an opportunity to identify their “urgent and immediate needs” for adapting to climate change.[79] As part of the NAPA process, LDC government ministries, typically assisted by development agencies, assess their countries’ vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events. They then develop a prioritized list of adaptation projects that will help the country cope with the adverse affects of climate change. LDCs that submit NAPAs to the UNFCCC then become eligible for funding through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC Fund) for NAPA projects. The LDC Fund was designed through the UNFCCC to specifically assist least developed countries, as they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.[80] To date, forty five LDCs have written and submitted NAPAs to the UNFCCC, with Nepal as the latest country to submit its NAPA in November 2010.[81] Three more countries (Angola, Myanmar, and Timor Leste) are scheduled to complete their NAPAs by the end of 2011.[82]

See also


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  6. ^ {{cite journal article=Benito Mu ̈ller, International Adaptation Finance: The Need for an Innova- tive and Strategic Approach 4 (Oxford Inst. for Energy Stud., Working Paper, June 2008), available at adapatation finance.pdf)}}
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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 United States sources

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.

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.

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