How climate change changes society in the ‘Age of Adaptation’

What is the Age of Adaptation? How did we get here? And how does it change how we should think about climate change?

Because the world has been unwilling and unable to respond to the threat of global climate change in time with appropriate measures of mitigation, we are now condemned to live in the “Age of Adaptation.”

Adaptation, after all, is essentially the failure of mitigation. This does not mean that the need to mitigate has gone away – the less we mitigate today, the more we will have to adapt to the impacts of climate change tomorrow. This does, however, mean that dealing with the impacts and consequences of climate change is no longer a ‘future’ challenge.

Importantly, this also means that how policy, society and business think about and deals with climate change also needs to change – most importantly, because carbon management – which has been the dominant strategy for mitigation – is not going to be enough in the Age of Adaptation.

The talk will explore (a) how we came upon the Age of Adaptation; (b) what it means to live in the Age of Adaptation; (c) what specific challenges does the Age of Adaptation pose for how policy, society and business responds to climate change and its impacts and (d) finally argue that while there is much to be concerned about in the Age of Adaptation, there may also be opportunities imbedded in it.
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