What are the choices?
The world is warming up at an alarming rate. What are we going to do about it? There are two types of polices to choose from: Mitigation & Adaptation.
Mitigation: This refers to policies which are designed to delay, reduce or prevent climate change caused by global warming. Examples of this is cutting CO2 emissions by:
- Congestion charging
- Increasing renewable energy
Adaptation: This refers to policies which are designed to reduce existing impact of global warming such as:
- Protection from coastal erosion
- Protection from flooding
Reasons to be pro mitigation policies:
- Emissions have to be reduced immediatly if the world is to avoid irreversable climate change. Adaptation is a waste of time is emissions increase.
- Adaptation policies are often supported by those who beleive in the 'fossil fuel society.' Unless someone challenges this change will never occur.
- Carbon sinks can easily be acheived through goverment grants to encourage afforestation (tree planting)
- There is public support in developed countries to cut emissions and use more renewable energy.
- Cutting greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries is essential as economic growth leads to an increase in emissions.
Reasons to be pro adaptation policies:
- It will take a long time to get all countries to agree to reduce carbon emissions so adaptation is necessary.
- The amount of time it will take to reduce emissions means climate change will get worse before it gets better.
- Climate change is already happening and this needs manaing now.
- Even if all emissions ceased today the effects would still last for the next century so we will need to adapt.
- The earth absorbs CO2 slowly so even with increased carbon sinks it will take a long time to absorb the excess
- Keeping greenhouse gas emissions at current levels is unrealistic due to the economic growth in the BRIC countries so mitigation will not be acheived in time.