Living with Climate Change
Humans have been adapting to changing climatic conditions for centuries — However, the climate change that the world is presently experiencing is occurring far more rapidly than anything the earth has experienced in the last 10,000 years.
Vulnerable countries, communities and ecosystems are already feeling the effects of climate change — The risks associated with the climate-related changes are real and are already happening in many systems and sectors essential for human livelihood, including water resources, food security and health. Developing countries are the most vulnerable to these risks. In the most vulnerable communities, the impacts of climate change pose a direct threat to people’s very survival. The devastating effects of extreme events, temperature increases and sea level rise will worsen with consequences for everyone, particularly the poor.
Affected countries must develop strategies to effectively adapt to the impact of climate change, now and in coming years — Because of this many developing countries have given adaptation action a high, even urgent, priority. The international community is identifying resources, tools and approaches to support this effort.
Coping with an uncertain future — Adaptation is a process through which societies make themselves better able to cope with an uncertain future. Adaptation options are many and range from technological options such as increased sea defenses or flood-proof houses on stilts, to behaviour change at the individual level, such as the sparing use of water in times of drought. Other adaptation strategies include early warning systems for extreme events, improved risk management, insurance options and biodiversity conservation to reduce the impacts of climate change on people.
Sustainable development is vital — According to the IPCC, future vulnerability depends not only on climate change but also on the type of development that is pursued. Sustainable development can reduce vulnerability and to be successful, adaptation should be implemented in the context of national and international sustainable development plans.