In response to a growing understanding of adaptation as an important response to climate change, many countries have begun identifying, assessing, and adopting measures to adapt to climate change. It is recognized that these adaptations reduce vulnerability to current climate extremes and will help in coping with changes in future climate.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Agenda 21 recommends cooperating with a view to adopting special measures to cope with and adapt to potential climate change and sea-level rise, including the development of globally accepted methodologies for coastal vulnerability assessment, modelling and response strategies particularly for priority areas, such as small islands and low-lying and critical coastal areas.
There are three basic means of coping with climate change: adaptation, climate engineering and abatement. Relying exclusively on adaptation policies is not a serious response to climate change. However, some degree of adaptation will probably be required; in a sense it is the job of other policy responses to climate change to minimize the degree of adaptation necessary. Climate engineering is probably too risky. This means that abatement measures must be pursued vigorously. The latter include domestic and international emissions taxes, the use of external offsets, and a tradable permit system, the latter appearing the most promising.
Adaptation includes actions such as increasing irrigation efficiency, breeding more drought-resistant crops, and developing buffer stocks of food. Scientists point out that adapting to climatic variability has a substantially greater effect of reducing impact than does mitigation. As an example, calculations show that reducing water demand by just 5% by 2020 has four times the effect of reducing emissions by 30%.
2. Adaptation without prevention/mitigation equals three daft and alienated monkeys saying why bother?< 3. Technology is not the constraint for climate protection; rather the political-economic framework discouraged all citizens, companies and states themselves to take "no-regret" measures.