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Adaptation to Climate Change

International efforts to seriously curtail rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels seem unlikely to be effective in the next decade, and inertia in the climate system means that some climate change will occur no matter what mitigation strategies are undertaken. Thus, many policymakers and researchers are focusing on the more realistic and politically palatable policy of “adaptation to climate change,” which is becoming increasingly vital. This approach assumes that environmental systems will become less stable as greenhouse gas levels increase, and thus humans must undertake actions that increase social and ecological resilience to perturbations. Such a policy has the additional benefit of offering “no regrets” or “win-win” outcomes—that is, even if global climate change does not unfold as expected, there are no regrets for having made ...

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