Managing climate risks — While mitigation tackles the causes of climate change, adaptation focuses on dealing with climate impacts. Adaptation refers to the adoption of policies and practices to prepare for the effects of climate change, accepting that complete avoidance is now impossible. More information about living with climate change.
Adaptation options are available in various sectors
Water: Expanded rain water harvesting, water storage, and conservation. Agriculture: Adjustment of planting dates and crop variety, crop relocation. Infrastructure (including coastal zones): Creation of marshlands as a buffer against sea level rise and flooding. Energy: Use of renewable sources, energy efficiency .
Most vulnerable — Developing and Least Developed Countries are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change , yet most in need of capacity – energy services, infrastructure and agricultural technologies – to adapt to it. Small Island Developing States, in particular, face increased risks of sea level rise, beach erosion and severe weather events, which impact economically important sectors like tourism and fishing. For adaptation, most estimates of developing country funding needs vary from $50 billion to $100 billion per year. UNDP’s Human Development Report , for example, cites a figure of $86 billion per year by 2015.
Improving resilience — Adaptive capacity needs to be improved everywhere, including in high-income countries. The Kyoto Protocol, like the Framework Convention, is designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change, notably by facilitating the development and deployment of techniques that can help increase resilience. More information about UN Agencies work on adaptation.
Examples of adaptation — In anticipation of future climate change, planners have considered sea-level rise in the design of infrastructure such as the Confederation Bridge in Canada and in coastal zone management in the USA and The Netherlands.
Other examples of adaptation include the partial drainage of the Tsho Rolpa glacial lake in Nepal, changes in livelihood strategies in response to permafrost melt by the Inuit in Nunavut, Canada, and the increased use of artificial snow-making by the ski industry in Europe, Australia and North America. More examples of adaptation .
The sooner the better — Delays in implementing adaptation, including delays in finance and support for adaptation in developing countries, ultimately means increased costs and greater dangers to more people in the future. Learn more information about the need for early action on adaptation .
Funding for adaptation — The member Governments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have established a number of funding opportunities for adaptation projects including through the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund and three special funds: the Least Developed Countries Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund and the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol. Learn more about financing.
Quick fact — Without adaptive efforts, a 2.5°C increase in temperature is likely to result in a 0.5-2 per cent decrease in gross domestic product, with higher losses in most developing countries. More facts and figues.