Why is adaptation to climate change so important?

It is now clear that human induced global warming climatic change is already occurring and that there is still a significant amount of warming to come.  Adaptation is already essential. The Earth is currently as hot as or slightly hotter than any time in the previous 120,000 years.  CO2 levels have reached 400ppm, a 15 million year high, and the world is facing increased temperatures of between 4-6 degrees C by the end of this century.  It is clear that we need to not only stop carbon emissions as soon as possible (climate change mitigation) but also to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (active carbon sequestration) to avoid a degree of climate change that is beyond humanity’s capacity to adapt.

 

“The rate of climatic changes is truly concerning and future predictions are alarming. Further than warming and sea level rise, severe weather events are more common, rain intensity has increased, ice and snow cover is declining rapidly in the summer months in all regions of the globe, and weather patterns are changing around the world.

 

It is now becoming clearer that, despite huge investments in improvements in defences, the costs of weather extremes are escalating rapidly and all predictions and trends are for these events to get more intense and more frequent. Therefore further protective adaptations are already essential before the weather bankrupts us all. Furthermore, as sustainability is dependent on healthy eco-systems it is also concerning that the Earth is amidst a mass extinction event induced by humanity's over-exploitation, pollution, nutrient disturbance, habitat destruction of eco-systems combined with the introduction of waste, toxin and alien species to eco-systems across the globe.

 

To avoid catastrophic harm to society, adaptation to climate change is essential. It includes all efforts to increase societal resilience to climatic change, realise the opportunities to enhance and regenerate eco-systems, allow just and sustainable societal support systems to emerge, and appropriately mitigate humanity’s carbon emissions.

 

As adaptation to climate change becomes more pressing, society will need a workforce with new skills and attributes.  Career opportunities will develop that will need the knowledge and approach that CAT is delivering in its new MSc and short courses.

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