The fight against climate change is a collective effort regardless of whether a nation is considered wealthy or poor. Each country plays an integral role in creating and adhering to climate adaptation strategies that benefit everyone. Here are four examples of how countries around the world are adapting to a rapidly changing climate.
This year marks the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27), where world leaders and representatives from more than 190 countries have gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss climate change and mitigation strategies for the future.
At COP27, a resounding call for worldwide accountability supports developed nations in delivering their pledge of $100 billion to vulnerable countries for climate change – half of which is intended for adaptation.
As it stands, the wealthiest nations can afford to offset the costs of climate change. For example, global fossil-fuel subsidies in 2021 amounted to $697 billion. That’s enough to cover most developing countries’ climate-induced economic burdens from 2000 to 2019, with $170 billion left over in profits.
The fight against climate change is a collective effort regardless of whether a nation is considered wealthy or poor. Each country plays an integral role in creating and adhering to adaptation strategies that benefit everyone.
This guide will explain what climate adaptation is, why it is vital, and how some countries’ strategies aim to improve the climate crisis.
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What Is Climate Adaptation and Why Is It Important?
Although climate change can occur from natural causes, human activity exacerbates the effects. For instance, the world’s reliance on fossil fuels has trapped excess carbon dioxide (CO2) and other noxious gases in the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise and weather conditions to deteriorate.
The outcome has proven dire, resulting in drought-ruined crops, economic losses, damaged infrastructure from natural disasters, and the rapid spread of diseases. Fortunately, most nations aren’t just sitting around as the planet crumbles. They’re choosing to act with robust climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Climate adaptation is often interchangeable with climate mitigation – however, there is one key distinction between the two terms. Whereas climate mitigation sets measures to prevent climate change from happening, adaptation forms parameters for acclimating to shifting environmental conditions.
Prioritisation of adaptation improves countries’ chances of survival amid the most critical environmental problems. Some examples of adaptation strategies include constructing seawalls or increasing structural elevations to avoid sea level rise and flooding.
Adopting green building policies to ensure energy efficiency, passive cooling, and better insulation is another way to adapt sustainably to the effects of dangerous heatwaves or deep freezes. Likewise, retrofitting old buildings and meeting green standards for new construction cuts energy consumption and saves money once spent on outdated equipment and materials.
The agricultural sector has also implemented climate adaptation, as growers revise conventional practices to improve irrigation and plant more drought-tolerant crops – successfully safeguarding the global food system as heatwaves and droughts intensify.
Climate adaptation is in everyone’s best interest, and worldwide efforts ensure more liveable areas despite adverse effects.
Building Resilience: Climate Adaptation Strategies Around the World
The most vulnerable populations are paying the price of climate change, yet developed nations also feel the repercussions.
Climate adaptation is necessary to enable safer communities and protect global economies. According to a recent study, the world’s largest 215 companies face $1 trillion in financial losses due to climate-related impacts, such as loss of economic productivity, disruption of agricultural production, and loss of property and life.
Of course, failing economies and loss of life-sustaining resources are simply not an option – global citizens must stand vigilant. Here’s how four countries have implemented comprehensive adaptation initiatives that benefit the world.
1. United States
The Biden Administration updated the nation’s climate adaptation approach in 2021 by addressing the following initiatives:
- Preventing supply chain disruptions.
- Protecting federal infrastructure, policy, and national security investments.
- Creating new ways to hold leadership accountable for climate resilience.
- Protecting U.S. workers by implementing new vulnerability parameters for dangerous climate conditions.
- Bridging the gaps in current socioeconomic and health-related inequities.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also updated its climate adaptation toolkit with climate-smart resilience strategies and resources for growers to farm more sustainably.
Individual states, counties, and cities typically maintain their own adaptation plans, as well, which are determined by regional climate risks and conditions.
Norway’s climate adaptation policies focus on developing flood risk assessment, planning, and monitoring.
With the widespread availability of climate insurance for natural disasters, the plan puts cities in charge of adaptation activities to construct more resilient and sustainable communities.
For instance, municipalities pool their climate resources and experiences, apply for grants, and work alongside regional governments to improve their response to urban flooding and determine how citizens can best adapt.
Agriculture supports 70% of Namibia’s population, 90% of which is livestock. Yet, as the driest nation in sub-Saharan Africa, the country’s most critical sector is at risk.
Namibia’s National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan addresses food security and resources before all other themes, leaning into legal frameworks and stakeholder participation to guide its approach.
Additionally, the plan hopes to generate climate awareness, training, and educational resources for public and private entities for stronger sustainable development and preparedness.
Recent findings suggest that Namibia has made progress toward climate adaptation, with 85% of institutions collecting and reporting climate adaptation data. However, the nation needs a more streamlined evaluation process for managing the data.
Colombia’s climate adaptation strategy entails 30 objectives for conserving fragile ecosystems, resilience planning, data management, and monitoring.
As a major cocoa producer, Colombia has developed a cocoa-farming cooperative that recommends agroforestry improvements, such as cultivating drought-resistant cacao varieties. The plan helps Colombia’s agricultural sector adapt to climate change without compromising its most critical commodity.
The plan also evaluates the vulnerability risks for crops like maize, plantains, and yucca to dictate the country’s adaptation measures.
Climate Adaptation Is Our Best Chance for Survival
We may not be able to stop climate change from happening, but the world has a way to adapt effectively. With more countries adopting resilience guidelines, there could be better days ahead.
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