Complementary Strategies: GHG Adaptation and Mitigation
Adaptation and mitigation form the two main strategies used in combating climate change. These strategies apply different means to reach their goals. While the former deals with the consequences of GHG emissions by reducing people’s vulnerability, the latter aims to tackle the problem by dealing with the cause (reducing GHG emissions).
Is it possible for every single climate remediation project to play a role in both adaptation and mitigation? Sure. While most projects apply a single approach in dealing with climate change, it is possible for one project to apply both strategies. It is needless to say that these two approaches complement each other, especially in agriculture and forestry. According to CIRAD researchers, it is advisable to apply both of them when dealing with the problem of global warming to prevent possible conflicts and inconsistencies.
It only takes a few adjustments for any project to apply both mitigation and adaptation strategies. For example, projects such as those that address climate change caused by forest degradation and deforestation contribute to both mitigation and adaptation since they (projects) aim at diversifying the subsistence means of the affected people. Such projects are informed by the fact that this diversification can reduce people’s vulnerability to climate change and enhance their ability to cope.
However, despite the possible synergies highlighted between adaptation and mitigation by various researchers, each of these strategies operates on its own geographical scale and time; hence, they are separately considered in most cases. Mitigation is typically a long-term approach that operates on a global scale, while adaptation is a short-term strategy operating on a local scale. For economic sectors such as energy, which play a major role in GHG emissions, and health, which is mainly concerned with coping with climate change, the difference between the two approaches (adaptation and mitigation) is highly logical. Project designers may have a good reason to combine the two approaches, but it is needless to coerce people into the combination.