“Adaptation” refers to the adjustments that societies or ecosystems make to limit the negative effects of climate change or to take advantage of opportunities provided by a changing climate. Climate change involves complex interactions between climatic, environmental, economic, political, institutional, social, and technological processes. It cannot be addressed or comprehended in isolation of broader societal goals (such as equity or sustainable development), or other existing or probable future sources of stress.
The IPCC defined adaptation as adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderate harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Adaptation is also defined as an understanding of how individuals, groups and natural systems can prepare for and respond to changes in climate or their environment and is crucial to reducing vulnerability to climate change. The potential to adjust in order to minimize negative impact and maximize any benefits from changes in climate is known as adaptive capacity. A successful adaptation can reduce vulnerability by building on and strengthening existing coping strategies.
Climate change is already impacting societies and ecosystems around the world, and many impacts are expected to increase as global temperatures continue to rise. ‘Mitigation’, in the context of climate change, is a human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Because mitigation is intended to reduce the harmful effects of climate change, it is part of a broader policy framework that also includes adaptation to climate impacts. In short, while mitigation tackles the causes of climate change, adaptation tackles the effects of the phenomenon. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, a certain amount of global warming is inevitable, due to the long-lasting nature of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, and to heat already stored in the oceans. Adapting to the changes that are already underway, and preparing for future climate change, can help reduce the risks societies will face from climate change.
The adaptation methods would become effective only through integrating climate change risk in the state’s disaster management policy. There is also a need for setting up an integrated training and capacity building protocol. Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) is an important approach for achieving multiple benefits in the context of sustainable development. EbA been defined by the CBD as “the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change”. This definition clearly identifies a strong link between biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change adaptation and societal resilience. In order to achieve sustainable development, a synergy between biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, socio-economic benefits and climate change adaptation is necessary (Figure 4). In addition to protection from climate change impacts, EbA also provides many other benefits to communities, for example through the maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem services crucial for livelihoods and human well-being, such as clean water and food. Appropriately designed ecosystem management initiatives can also contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing emissions from ecosystem loss and degradation, and enhancing carbon sequestration.