Indian Ocean Climate Initiative - Western Australia

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What is adaptation?

Adaptation is defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as an 'adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities'. In simpler terms, adaptation refers to any activity that reduces the negative impacts of climate change and/or enables us to take advantage of any opportunities that climate change may present.

Adaptation strategies are generally developed to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts by:

  • reducing exposure to climate change, for example, establishing communities away from high risk flood prone areas;
  • reducing sensitivity to climate change, for example, designing infrastructure such as bridges, roads and buildings that can withstand climate changes such as increased temperatures and storm surges;
  • increasing the adaptive capacity of systems, for example, putting into place emergency management systems to deal with flood or bushfire conditions; and
  • increasing the resilience of systems to climate change impacts.

Cooperation between all levels of society, including government, industry, the science community, technical and professional experts as well as the community is in essential in developing adaptation strategies. This will ensure that decision making is more informed, skills and lessons learned are shared, duplication of time, effort and resources is avoided and that  adaptation is tailored to local conditions.

For more information, go to the website of the Office of Climate Change, DEC.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 11:32

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