Frequently Asked Questions - What are climate change adaptation and mitigation?

There are two main categories of human responses to climate change: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation involves actions intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions trading schemes and reforestation programs. Adaptation involves action intended to reduce the negative effects of climate change on human and natural systems. Adaptation has been undertaken by a variety of actors at various scales, and could include measures such as the establishment of early warning systems, improvement of risk management, alteration of farming practices and crop use, improvement of water use efficiency and building new water reservoirs.

Information and communication technology (ICT) is a vital for the development early warning systems, and can provide up-to-date weather and water quality/supply data. Knowledge portals, such as InfoAndina in Peru can provide information and tools for communities to better conserve water and adapt farming practices to changing climatic conditions.

Defined as the ability of a system to withstand, recover and change in the face of an external disturbance (such as acute or chronic climate change), resilience constitutes an important property of livelihood systems which, through a set of seven dynamic sub-properties (robustness, scale, redundancy, rapidity, flexibility, self-organisation and learning) can enhance adaptive capacity. E-resilience is “a property of livelihood systems by which ICTs interact with a set of resilience sub-properties, enabling the system to adapt to the effects of climate change.”

For an organization to be carbon-neutral, all of its carbon emissions must be offset in some way. This offset can be achieved through an emission trading scheme, carbon capture, or through other means, such as the Clean Development Mechanism.

In theory, a carbon footprint is a measure of the entire green house gas emission of a particular entity (be it a corporation, and organization or an individual). Data such as this would take into account things such as transportation, production, services and others. Most commonly, carbon dioxide and methane alone are taken into account for the sake of simplicity. Once an entity’s carbon footprint has been ascertained, steps may be taken to reduce its size, or to offset it in some way.

A carbon sink is any formation, natural or otherwise, that absorbs more carbon than it releases. Forests are a naturally occurring example of a carbon sink, due to the carbon consumed during photosynthesis. A large, buried tank would be an example of a synthetic carbon sink.

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