Coping with climate change

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Mitigation strategies involve taking action to reduce how much climate change occurs, eg. reducing emissions may help to slow the temperature increase, so less ice may melt and the sea level would rise less.

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Mitigation strategies

Carbon Tax - taxing companies or people who produce CO2. The aim is to disencourage people using too much energy.

Changing the energy mix - Changing the mix of sources of energy ie, lowing the amount of energy we use from fossil fuels and going nuclear which emits less greenhouse gases.

Modified agriculteral processes - Cut methane emissions from farm animals.

Emission-cutting technologies - Carbon capture and storage involves storing the CO2 produced using methods like injecting it into geological formations.

Energy conservation - using less energy.

Waste strategies - Increasing the amount of waste that's recycled, which should directly cut methane emissions from landfill sites.

Tree planting - New trees act as carbon sinks so more CO2 will be stored as organic matter.

Carbon offsetting - paying to offset the amount of CO2 people/ businesses make, the money will go towards things like planting more trees to take in the CO2 produced.

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Adaptation strategies involve taking action to reduce the impacts that the changes are having, eg to protect vulnerable settlements from sea level rise.

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Adaptation strategies

Lifestyle adaptations - People adapt the way they live to suit the new conditions eg. planting crops that will grow in new climatic conditions.

Improved risk assessment - Looking at the likelihood that people or property will be damaged by climate change impacts, and evaluating the need for insurance policies.

Flood adaptations - Building physical defenses such as flood barriers to reduce the impacts of flooding, and having better warning systems.

Water resource management - Using freshwater resources more efficiently to cope with drought conditions eg. installing water metres in peoples homes to discourage them using lots of water.

Community awareness - Educating local communities on the potential impacts of climate change. Emergency action plans can be tailored for specific communities.

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Strategies have limitations and side effects

Limitation - eg. building physical flood defences works whilst flooding remains below a certain level. If sea levels continue to rise defences like the Thames barrier won't be high enough to cope with higher flood waters.

Side effect - eg. changing the energy mix would reduce emissions, but using more nuclear power would produce more nuclear waste. It's a long time before the waste becomes safe, so it's expensive and dangerous to dispose of.

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Key players

1. Governments - develop strategies on an international, national and local scale.

2. Businesses - can help to speed up or slow down climate change. They may lobby governments to reduce restrictions and allow them to continue producing greenhouse gases, or they could invest in new technologies to help combat climate change.

3. NGOs - can have many roles & views depending on what they're set up to do and who their members are eg, Greenpeace pressures governments to take action against climate change.

4. Communities and individuals - strategies developed on a larger scale are carried out on a local level.

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'Act Local, Think Global'

International agreements help at the largest scale, but changes need to be coordinated at all levels. This means that individually people should be trying to reduce their carbon footprint and then this should lead to a decrease in emissions.

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