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Adapting to Climate Change
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Regardless of the level of future greenhouse gas emissions, some climate changes already are inevitable. As a result, adaptation strategies will be needed to cope with local impacts as well as socioeconomic conditions, particularly in areas susceptible to extreme events. Adaptation, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the "adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities."

To date, little research has addressed climate adaptation policy. One reason may be an assumption that to the extent climate change is gradual rather than abrupt—and variability of day-to-day or seasonal effects is predictable—households and businesses may be able to adapt readily. However, in light of scientific evidence of extreme and unpredictable climate change, prudent policy requires consideration of what to do if markets and people fail to anticipate these changes, or are constrained in their ability to react.

RFF has undertaken a double-pronged approach to adaptation research. The first is focused exclusively on domestic U.S. adaptation policies, and the second is aimed at international strategies through the use of a Global Adaptation Atlas. The two initiatives are part of RFF's Climate Policy Program.

   

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