Mitigation and adaptation

In the broadest sense, people talk about two aspects of addressing climate change, mitigation and adaptation.

Mitigation is preventative, trying to shape our society so we put out as little greenhouse gas as possible and avert as much climate change as we can. Mitigation tends towards energy, sprawl and transportation policy. In California, mitigation is being handled by the AB 32 Scoping Plan. The other state agencies pretty much think that the Air Board has got mitigation covered and are now thinking about adaptation.

Adaptation is the acknowledgement that we will suffer from the effects of climate change already underway, so we need to get ready for that. Adaptation will heavily influence water resources, disaster preparedness and response, coastal anything, natural systems like forests and deserts, biodiversity and agriculture. The agencies that address those are now looking fifty years out and guessing what we need to do to be ready for a harsher world. They’re starting to issue reports, saying what they’ll do and what they expect everyone else to do. I’ll tell you about those as they come out.

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