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What is climate change adaptation?

Over the last years, there has been increasing evidence of the impacts of climate change on different socioeconomic sectors and natural systems in all regions of the planet.

Projections on the future climate indicate that, even if global efforts to reduce emissions are effective, the effects of climate change will remain for decades.

For this reason, climate change adaptation is a necessary strategy at all scales. It is necessary to complement efforts to reduce the emissions that cause it.

The projections indicate that climate change will increase climate-related risks for both natural and human systems. Some of these risks will be limited to a particular sector or region, and others will have cascading effects. To a lesser extent, projected climate change also points to some potential benefits.

Various extreme phenomena associated with climatic conditions, such as heat waves, droughts, torrential rains or fires - which cause serious social and environmental impacts in our country - will increase their frequency or intensity as a result of climate change. In this sense, adaptation is an essential response to avoid a growing impact on the economy and society.

On the other hand, the reduction of water resources associated with climate change implies enormous challenges to key sectors such as agriculture, while the rise in sea level affects tourism and coastal cities in a very specific way.

Little by little, adaptation is being incorporated into planning processes, although the application of responses is still very limited. These adaptation mesures can be: sectoral (related to a specific sector), multi-sectoral (related to two or more sectors together), regional, transversal or horizontal (they serve to improve global adaptation).

 

More information:

  • Key concepts on adaptation
  • Adaptation in Spain and in the EU