In order to tackle climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) provided a portfolio of measures: mitigation, adaptation and constant research. Although Article 10 of the Kyoto Protocol underlined the importance of adaptation, adaptation to climate change had been obtained limited attention in the early negotiations of climate talks. In 2010, Cancun Session of Conference of Parties (“COP”) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) highlighted the equal importance of adaptation just as mitigation. Since then, increasing attention has been drawn to adaptation practice by the international society. Typically, adaptation can be broken down into three steps: (1) realizing the effects of climate change; (2) designing the activity for remediation of climate change consequences; and (3) implementing the adaptation measures. The most important “adaptive step” is the decision-making and the way in which the activity is designed.
Developing countries have already realized how climate change affects them. Change of temperature, precipitation and extreme events such as superstorms and sea level rise already have threatened them, in particular their water, agriculture and coastal zones. Their adaption programs “must be an integral part of a development policy process that ensures mainstreaming of climate adaptation in all relevant sectors of society while not forgetting the other multiple drivers (social, economic, and environmental problems)”. In other words, the ultimate goal of the adaption program design should create a link between the adaptation measures and overall sustainable development. The measures will need to be different for each country since “adaptation needs to be context specific and dependent on the resources available to the impacted domain.”
However, adaptation cost and adaptive capacity are two barriers in developing countries. On a regional basis, the East Asia and Pacific Region bears the highest adaptation cost according to some economic analyses. With regard to adaptive capacity, developed countries have more strengths on adaptation development than developing countries because of their greater resources and often better governance systems, technical support and quality of national institutions.
Various partnerships that aim to improve adaptive capacity and resilience have been carried out in developing countries. However, it is a long-term process and takes substantial time to see the results. Under the pressure of climate change, instantly effective adaptation measures would be helpful to developing countries. This paper proposes a series of adaptation paths that can be promoted and replicated under different circumstances regardless of different governance structures.
Ottinger, Richard L.; Wang, Pianpian; and Motel, Kristin M., "Options for Adaption to Climate Change" (2014). Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications. 977.