The climate is changing, that’s for sure. Elsewhere in the world, record temperatures, forest fires, droughts, other floods reveal our vulnerability to the natural elements. This is all the more worrying as these events are expected to become more frequent and more violent.
Of course, everything must be done to contain global warming. But the climate system has strong inertia: even if countries manage to meet their commitments made with the Paris Agreement and stay below 1.5°C of warming.
This is why it is necessary to adapt today. We analyze the weaknesses of a territory and implement actions to better resist the effects of global warming. Overview of some adaptation measures.
The two approaches are obviously complementary. In the first, we try to act on the causes, in the second we prepare for the inevitable consequences. Because climate change is already here.
What can we do?
There are many ways to adapt to what is happening and what will happen. Individuals can take some simple measures. You can plant or preserve trees around your home, for instance, to keep temperatures cooler inside. Clearing brush might reduce fire hazards. If you own a business, start thinking about and planning around possible climate risks, such as hot days that prevent workers from doing outside tasks.
Everyone should be aware of the possibly greater potential for natural disasters where they live and what resources they have in case these happen. That might mean purchasing insurance in advance, or knowing where you can get disaster information and relief during a crisis.
Gearing up for big changes
Given the scale of climate change, and the fact that it will affect many areas of life, adaptation also needs to take place on a greater scale. Our economies and societies as a whole need to become more resilient to climate impacts. This will require large-scale efforts, many of which will be orchestrated by governments. Roads and bridges may need to be built or adapted to withstand higher temperatures and more powerful storms. Some cities on coastlines may have to establish systems to prevent flooding in streets and underground transport. Mountainous regions may have to find ways to limit landslides and overflow from melting glaciers.
Some communities may even need to move to new locations because it will be too difficult to adapt. This is already happening in some island countries facing rising seas.