IPCC suggests adaptation and mitigation efforts needed to tackle climate impacts

Synthesis report suggests sector-wise strategy for policy makers to make their people, especially the poor, climate resilient

 
By Jitendra
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

Village people work to revive a rivulet in Uttar Pradesh, India (Photo by Jitendra)

The latest IPCC synthesis report emphasises on the need of holistic approach in order to mitigate climate change risk which is seriously impacting water resources, food security, livelihood, human health and key economic activities. It also states that adaptation and mitigation opportunities exist in all sectors.

The report also clearly states that approach to mitigation and adaptation would vary from sector to sector. 

Adaptation and mitigation are two complementary strategies for responding to climate change. Adaptation is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects in order to either lessen or avoid harm and mitigation is the process of reducing emission of greenhouse gases.

The report states that governments at various levels have begun to develop adaptation plans and policies and integrate climate -change considerations into broader development plans.

According to the report, adaptation and mitigation has been evolving for ages. It states that throughout history, people and societies have adjusted to and coped with climate, climate variability and extremes, with varying degrees of success. In today’s changing climate, accumulating experience with adaptation and mitigation efforts can provide opportunities for learning and refinement.

Suggestions for adaptation


The report points to some measures for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in different sectors.

Freshwater resources: The report suggests including adoption of integrated water management and augmentation of supply to reduce mismatch between demand and supply. It also emphasises on strengthening of institutional capacities. It stresses on adoption of water efficient technologies and water saving strategies.

Terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems: The report states that management of terrestrial and fresh water ecosystem can reduce risks but can’t eliminate climate change risk.  It suggests management options that reduce non-climatic stressors, such as habitat modification, over-exploitation, pollution and invasive species, increase in the inherent capacity of ecosystems and their species to adapt to a changing climate.

Coastal systems and low-lying areas: The report suggests large-scale translocation of industrial fishing activities and flexible management that can react to variability and change. For smaller-scale fisheries and nations with limited adaptive capacities, building social resilience, alternative livelihoods, and occupational flexibility are important strategies. Adaptation options for coral reef systems are generally limited to reducing other stressors, mainly by enhancing water quality and limiting pressures from tourism and fishing, but their efficacy will be severely reduced as thermal stress and ocean acidification increase.

Food production system/rural areas: Responses to decreased food production and quality include developing new crop varieties adapted to changes in CO2, temperature, and drought; enhancing the capacity for climate risk management; and offsetting economic impacts of land -use change. Improving financial support and investing in the production of small-scale farms can also provide benefits. Expanding agricultural markets and improving the predictability and reliability of the world trading system could result in reduced market volatility and help manage food supply shortages caused by climate change, says the report.
 
Urban areas, key economic sectors and services: The report suggests enhancement of capacity building of low income group. The report give examples of adaptation mechanisms like large-scale public-private risk reduction initiatives and economic diversification, and government insurance for the non-diversifiable portion of risk.

Human health, security and livelihoods: The report suggests improvement of basic healthcare, provision of clean drinking water and improvement of sanitation. There should be provision of reduction of heat stress which causes large number of deaths. Insurance programmes, social protection measures, and disaster risk management may enhance long-term livelihood and resilience among the poor and marginalised people, if policies address multi-dimensional poverty, says the synthesis report.


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