Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation
Our region is taking decisive and immediate action in response to the health and environmental challenges that lie ahead. We must strive to reduce municipal and community greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, as quickly as possible. We also need to understand what is expected for climate change in our area and adjust how we do things so that our area can adapt successfully to those expected changes.
The 2023 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report provides guidance on keeping global warming below the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report also strongly emphasizes achieving interim targets by 2030, underscoring the significance of the 2020s as a pivotal decade for climate action.
Climate change signifies shifts in global and regional climate patterns, largely stemming from human activities that escalate greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Its primary drivers include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrial processes and alterations in land use.
Both mitigation and adaptation are necessary for our strategy to address climate change. Mitigation actions aim to reduce the magnitude of future climate change, while adaptation focuses on managing the impacts already happening or expected to. These two approaches are critical for lessening the risks linked to climate change, safeguarding vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and achieving a sustainable and resilient future.
Climate vs. Weather
It's important to distinguish between weather and climate. Weather encompasses the short-term fluctuations in atmospheric conditions, from minutes to months. In contrast, climate represents longer-lasting weather patterns in a specific region, typically observed over a 30-year period.
Difference Between Climate Adaptation & Climate Change Mitigation
|Climate adaptation is adjusting services and infrastructure due to changing climate conditions. For example:
|Climate change mitigation focuses on reducing or preventing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example:
|• Infrastructure and building improvements
• Strengthening flood protection methods
• Disaster management strategies and business continuity planning
• Increasing stormwater collection capacities
• Preserving and enhancing natural ecosystems
|• Promoting energy-efficient and climate-resilient residential and commercial buildings
• Expanding the use of renewable energy sources
• Supporting sustainable transportation options
• Reducing waste sent to landfills
• Encouraging water and energy conservation practices
Overlap and Differences between Adaptation and Mitigation (Image credit: ICLEI Canada, 2019)