As a result of evidence that human-induced global climate change is already occurring and will continue to affect society over the coming decades, a surge in interest in impact-oriented action is discernable since the beginning of the century, in contrast to efforts centred on prevention (Burton et al., 2002). Frustration over the lack of progress and effectiveness of policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has contributed to this shift. Adapting to the changes has consequently emerged as a solution to address the impacts of climate change that are already evident in some regions. However, this course of action has not always been considered relevant within science and policy (Schipper, 2006a; Klein, 2003). Adaptation responds directly to the impacts of the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in both precautionary and reactive ways, rather than through the preventative approach of limiting the source of the gases (this is known as ‘mitigation’). This avoids the enormous political obstacles facing initiatives to curtail the burning of fossil fuels by factories, transport and other sectors. Adaptation to climate change is considered especially relevant for developing countries, where societies are already struggling to meet the challenges posed by existing climate variability (Yamin et al. 2005; Adger et al., 2003; Handmer, 2003; Kates, 2000; Watson and Ackerman, 2000), and are therefore expected to be the most adversely affected by climate change (McCarthyet al., 2001). The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report makes clear that “adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions” (IPCC,complimentary response strategy to mitigation.
Adaptation is becoming a key issue of post-2012 international climate policy negotiations. The December 2009 Copenhagen Accord (1) establishes that by 2020 developed countries will provide US$ 100 billion per year to address the needs of de veloping countries, including funding for adaptation. Indeed, even ambitious mitigation policies [e.g., the 2 °C target proposed by the European Union (EU) and endorsed by the G8 (2, 3)] will need to be complemented by adaptation strategies to lessen the impact of residual warming (4). Europe is preparing for a coordinated adaptation climate strategy from 2013, as set out in the European Commission White Paper on Adaptation (5). One of its main conclusions is that much still is unknown about the potential impacts of climate change on the European economy as a whole or with respect to different economic sectors and geographical regions of Europe (6–9).
The severity of damaging human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility. This paper shows that the climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop. Following cessation of emissions, removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases radiative forcing, but is largely compensated by slower loss of heat to the ocean, so that atmospheric temperatures do notdrop significantly for at least 1,000 years. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase from current levels near 385 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to a peak of 450–600 ppmv over thecoming century are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the ‘‘dust bowl’’ era and inexorable sea level rise. Thermal expansion of the warming ocean provides a conservative lower limit to irreversible global average sea level rise of at least 0.4 1.0 m if 21st century CO2 concentrations exceed 600 ppmv and 0.6 –1.9 m for peak CO2 concentrations exceeding _1,000 ppmv. Additional contributions from glaciers and ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise are uncertain but may equal or exceed several meters over the next millennium or longer.
Given a certain pre-existing commitment to sea-level rise due to the long thermal lags of the ocean system, several million people living in coastal areas and small islands will inevitably be displaced by the middle of the century. These climate exiles will have nowhere to go. Rather than deal with this in an ad hoc manner as the problem arises, the authors propose a mechanism by which these exiles would be given immigration benefits by countries through a formula that ties numbers of immigrants to a country’s historical greenhouse gas emissions. Such a compensatory mechanism appears to be a fair way of addressing the problems faced by climate exile.
Voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) management programs and policies directed at individuals, households, and communities serve as compliments to national and state-level policies directed at heavy industrial emitters.1,2 Recently there has been a marked increase in information campaigns promoting lower-carbon life styles choices, community-based social marketing programs,3 voluntary carbon offsets programs,4 and the proliferation of online household carbon footprint calculators5 aimed at reducing emissions related to individual lifestyles. Several recent studies suggest that voluntary consumer-oriented programs can reduce household carbon footprints by 5-20%.6-8 However, indivi duals and program developers need information on the relative contribution of different household activities to household carbon footprints as well as and the financial and GHG benefits of different household mitigation
The Lessons of the past- an archaeologist looks at ancient climate change Looking at the responses of human societies to climate change since the end of the Ice Age, we can discern major changes in our vulnerability to such events as drought cycles, major rainfall shifts, and El Nines. This increased vulnerability has a direct relationship to increasing population densities, the growth of urbanization, and the difficulties involved in governing ever more complex societies. Examples from ancient human societies in different parts of the world abound, although many details of their adaptations await further research. For tens of thousands of years, Homo sapiens lived by hunting and gathering, in small bands constantly on the move. Drought and other climatic shifts required effortless adaptation, through movement close to permanent water sources. We see the same strategy still practiced by Australian Aborigines.
Urbanization and climate change will define much of the 21st century. Urbanization leads to improvement in standards of living, and through the increased density and service delivery efficiency of cities, higher growth can be achieved with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Cities and urban agglomerations house more than 50% percent of the global population and contribute more than 70 percent of global greenhouse (GHG) emissions. As the share of urban population grows, sustainable urban development emerges as an essential component in addressing climate change. Mitigation often comes at a significant cost. Carbon finance has an important role to play in reducing these costs. Carbon finance is accessible through regulated mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation ( JI) under the Kyoto Protocol, and through voluntary markets, using the Voluntary Carbon Standard and climate exchanges. City authorities, however, have not been able to fully access market mechanisms for carbon credits. Less than 1% of projects registered with the CDM are credited to cities.
This report is structured in the following way: First, a synthesis of individual studies is given. The synthesis contains key findings only, along with selected charts, tables, graphs, maps, and text boxes. Second, stakeholders are given tables by themes (see paragraph 1 of the Executive Summary above) to enable CCAP's Secretariat to record their significance rankings for impacts emanating from changes in sea level, sea temperature, precipitation, and atmospheric temperature. Further, the table records their proposed activities for inclusion in union council level adaptation plans. Third, annexures to the report provide survey instruments or other large maps and tables that accompany our synthesis of each study. This can help readers to reference detailed data as they use the synthesis report at CCAP's consultations of Saturday 29 December 2012, 28 February 2013 and thereafter.
Climate change adaptation and development; exploring the linkages
Empirical regularities in the poverty-environment relationship of rural households