Environment

Adapting to Climate Change Doesn't = Raising the White Flag

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFeb 20, 2013 4:24 PM

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Remember when:

Just a decade ago, 'adaptation' was something of a dirty word in the climate arena — an insinuation that nations could continue with business as usual and deal with the mess later.

That's Olive Heffernan, reminiscing several months ago in Nature. She goes on to say:

But greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing at an unprecedented rate and countries have failed to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty. That stark reality has forced climate researchers and policy-makers to explore ways to weather some of the inevitable changes.

Heffernan's piece is all about current approaches and projects that aim to make the world more resilient to climate change. (Another reason why the resilience concept is in tune with the times.) She quotes Jon Barnett, a political geographer at the University of Melbourne in Australia:

As progress to reduce emissions has slowed in most countries, there has been a turn towards adaptation.

This shift has been several years in the making. Now this doesn't mean climate activists should concede defeat and governments should stop trying to reign in greenhouse gases. It just means we're on a new playing field, which the Daily Beastcaptures nicely in this piece and headline from yesterday:

Welcome to the Politics of Climate Change: Adapt and Avert

There is already much new discussion along these lines taking place every day at the local, community level. As these conversations move forward, they will have to make clear that living with climate change doesn't mean giving up on doing something about it.

[Roof top island above Chicago's City Hall. Additional information.]

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