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How do people adapt to climate change?

What are the current adaptation strategies? What makes populations vulnerable to climate change? What are the relative roles of mitigation and adaptation?

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Current adaptation strategies

Humans need to adapt to the impacts of climate change, for instance through technological solutions such as coastal defences and changes in consumption habits. Humans are already adapting to climate change, and further adaptation efforts will be necessary during coming decades. However, adaptation alone is not expected to be able to cope will all projected effects since the options diminish and the costs increase with rising temperatures.

Vulnerability of populations to climate change

Vulnerability of human populations to climate change and its consequences can be affected by other factors, such as pollution, conflicts, or epidemics such as AIDS. An emphasis on sustainable development can help human societies reduce their vulnerability to climate change. However, climate change itself can become an impediment to their development.

Mitigation and adaptation

Mitigation measures that aim to reduce greenhouse gases emissions can help avoid, reduce or delay impacts, and should be implemented in order to ensure that adaptation capacity is not exceeded.

More information at


European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100