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What on Earth is ‘climate adaptation’?

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Editor’s note: From “blue carbon” to “ecosystem services,” environmental jargon is everywhere these days. Conservation International looks to make sense of it in an occasional explainer series we’re calling “What on Earth?”

In this installment, we explore “climate adaptation” and some of the ways communities are responding to intensifying climate impacts.

What is ‘climate adaptation’?

It’s how communities and nations are adjusting to the many ways in which climate change is altering our lives. 

Wait — shouldn’t we focus our time and energy on ending climate change rather than adapting to it?

You have a point; there is still time to prevent runaway climate change by drastically cutting carbon emissions. But millions of people around the world are already suffering the effects of a rapidly warming planet. Just look at the headlines: devastating hurricanes in the United States, enduring droughts from China to Europe, and record-breaking heat waves in the United Kingdom. Research shows that warming temperatures caused by climate change are even fueling locust…

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