Limiting Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation
Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change adaptation is responding to existing or anticipated climate change and its consequences. Adaptation is especially crucial in developing nations because they are most affected by climate change.
It refers to adjustments in procedures, practices, and structures. That is made to mitigate the impacts of climate change. And take advantage of the possibilities that come with it.
Governments and organizations must create adaptation solutions. They should take action to respond to current climate change consequences and plan for future repercussions.
Climate Change Mitigation
Climate change mitigation involves taking steps to reduce global warming and its consequences. This entails lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as efforts to lower GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.
According to the UN Environment Programme emissions gap study, GHG emissions need to be reduced by 76% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels. This is to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The IPCC works with the idea of a carbon budget that is set in stone. If current emissions of 42 GtCO2 continue, the carbon budget for 1.5 °C might be depleted by 2028. Between 2030 and 2052, the temperature would increase to that level with some delay. Even if negative emissions were feasible in the future, 1.5 degrees Celsius must not be surpassed at any moment to avoid ecological destruction.
Adaptations Concepts and Strategies
Adaptation can assist reduce climate risk through the three risk components of hazards, vulnerability, and exposure.
Three types of adaptation activities can be identified:
Social adaptation (educational, informational, behavioral);
Institutional adaptation (engineering and built environment, technological, ecosystem-based, services);
Structural and physical adaptation (this can be divided into engineering and built environment, technological, ecosystem-based, services).
Nearly three-quarters of countries have some adaptation strategies in place. But funding and execution are inadequate.
Nature-based solutions, which are essential for adaptability, require more attention.
While nations have progressed in planning, the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 finds that huge gaps in finance for developing countries remain. This prevents adaptation projects from reaching the stage where they can provide real protection against climate impacts. Such as droughts, floods, and sea-level rise.
Parties to the UN climate change regime carry out adaptation-related activities. They do this through a variety of workstreams, work programs, and specialized organizations and committees. These are some of them:
National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPAs)
National Adaptation Plans
The Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG)
Nairobi work program on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change
Technical Examination Process on Adaptation
Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
The way we utilize energy is rapidly changing. To keep global temperatures from rising, the transition to renewable energy(RE) sources must happen faster. Not just in electricity generation but also in heating, construction, and transportation.
By 2050, renewables may provide four-fifths of the world’s power, drastically reducing carbon emissions and aiding in climate change mitigation. Solar and wind power must be properly integrated, with sustainable biofuels playing an important role.
Bioenergy, Solar energy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean energy, and wind energy are all examples of renewable energy sources. These can help mitigate climate change.
Fossil fuels, which include coal, oil, and natural gas, have been powering economies for over 150 years and now account for over 80% of global energy.
Renewable energy investments would only cost roughly 1% of global GDP each year to make. This strategy might maintain greenhouse gas concentrations below 450 parts per million, which is the safe threshold beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.
In comparison to fossil-based power production, non-combustion-based RE generating technologies. These have the potential to considerably reduce local and regional air pollution and related health implications.
The cost of adaptation in underdeveloped nations is around USD 70 billion per year. This amount will rise to USD 140-300 billion by 2030. In 2050, it will rise to USD 280-500 billion.
The cost-benefit analysis is critical for evaluating potential adaption alternatives. Adaptation costs are primarily concerned with making society more robust to climate change. At the same time, benefits are concerned with avoiding harm as a result of climate change adaptation.
Climate change has a disproportionately negative impact on vulnerable communities, including many impoverished people. As a result, adaptation planners must evaluate not just net benefits. But also the distribution of costs and benefits of adaptation choices.
It was clarified during the 2015 Paris meeting that the $100 billion per year should be allocated evenly between mitigation and adaptation. As of December 2020, the projected $100 billion per year had not been completely fulfilled. The majority of developing nation investment was still focused on mitigation, with adaptation getting just 21% of public funding in 2020.
Adaptation has several economic benefits, including greater agricultural productivity, higher household incomes. They also improve environmental services, asset protection, and reduce susceptibility to catastrophic weather events.
Projections of Future Climate Change
Climate projections are computational simulations of future climates. These use models to describe physical processes in the environment, ocean, atmosphere, biosphere, and land, as well as their interconnections.
And when these models are combined together with the climate forecasts. They become the best instruments for describing the planet’s climate system’s future evolution at global and regional scales.
The Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP), was founded in 1995 by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). It aims to better understand the history, present, and future of the climate system and has released updated climate forecasts.
For all scenarios studied, the following conclusions from the models were analyzed. Verify those from the IPCC Second Assessment Report (regional climate change forecasts):
The mean precipitation in most tropical places has increased. The mean precipitation in most sub-tropical areas has declined. Also, mean precipitation in high latitudes has increased.
During the summer, the mid-continental zones tend to dry out (decreases in soil moisture). This is due to a combination of rising temperatures and possible evaporation, which isn’t being countered by rising precipitation.
The majority of models predict an El Nino-like In the tropical Pacific, sea surface temperatures are increasing faster in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. This is more than in the western equatorial Pacific and a corresponding mean eastward shift in precipitation.
Carbon sequestration is a method of capturing and then storing carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. It is a climate change mitigation method to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, thereby reducing global warming.
We already see growing concerns about climate change primarily caused by rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Therefore, researchers have been looking into the possibility of increasing carbon sequestration rates through land use and forestry changes and geoengineering techniques like carbon capture and storage.
Carbon sequestration is the process of storing carbon that has the immediate potential to create CO2. It can occur biologically or as a consequence of anthropogenic action.
Carbon sinks are reservoirs that store carbon and prevent it from entering the atmosphere. Deforestation, for example, emits carbon into the atmosphere. In comparison, forest regeneration is a kind of carbon sequestration, with the forests themselves acting as carbon sinks.
Carbon sequestration refers to the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to prevent or delay hazardous climate change. It has been advocated as a means of slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and oceans, which are emitted by burning fossil fuels and industrial livestock production.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
To combat global warming, several scientists have proposed a new carbon sequestration system. These technologies are geoengineering proposals called carbon capture and storage (CCS).
CCS usually refers to the direct capture of carbon dioxide at the source of emission before it can be released into the atmosphere. Still, it may also refer to techniques like scrubbing towers and artificial trees that remove carbon dioxide from the surrounding air.
Carbon dioxide is initially isolated from other gases in industrial emissions in CCS operations. It is then compressed and transferred to a climate-controlled storage facility for long-term storage. Geologic formations such as deep saline deposits, depleted oil and gas reserves, and the deep ocean might all be suitable storage places.
Challenges of CCS:
According to the IPCC, carbon capture and storage would raise energy generating costs by one to five cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the fuel, technology, and location.
Carbon leakage from reservoirs is also a risk. However, it is projected that properly managed geological storage will maintain 99 percent of its sequestered carbon dioxide for over 1,000 years (with a 66–90 percent certainty).
Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.