It is vitally important to understand the difference between mitigation and adaptation when it comes to climate change. Mitigation primarily attempts to reduce the impacts of climate change via reductions in emissions and the sequestering of greenhouse gases, whereas adaptation is an effort to find ways to survive climate change through infrastructure changes and living conditions. In short, mitigation ask you to fight it, adaptation ask you to surrender to it.
I think any intelligent person knows that both are needed, the key to success lies in which do you give the highest priority. You can’t do that blindly, you gotta know what the deal is, you gotta know if you “can or cannot” fight it. If you discover you can fight and win, then throw all you got into mitigation, if you discover you “cannot” then do likewise with adaptation. The problem is we really don’t know in any absolute terms if we can defeat climate change, even with the best mitigation efforts. On the other hand, we also don’t know if we can adapt to it if we can’t fight it. What to do?
Right now we are putting our money on mitigation and doing very little (almost nothing) with adaptation. Is this wise? Well let me put it this way, it certainly is not wise that we are doing almost nothing to adapt and when you compare the two efforts, it makes mitigation look like we are going full tilt. But the truth is we are not really doing a hell of a lot with mitigation when you consider we have been at this for nearly 30 years and at this point only 21% of the global energy output comes from renewables. If we were really going to have put our money on mitigation, we should have been nearly 100% fossil fuel free by now. Instead, CO2 emissions are still rising. Let me repeat that, CO2 emissions are still rising. See? That means not being mitigated…whoops.
So considering this, we better be getting our shit straight. We really are not looking at this squarely, actually, not looking at it at all. And it appears to me that since we are so freaking far behind on mitigation, maybe it’s time we switch our priority to adaptation. Worse yet, given that we are even further behind on adaptation, maybe we otta just set our priorities on getting right with our gods. You choose.