Making integration of adaptation and mitigation work: mainstreaming into sustainable development policies?
Rob Swart and
Climate Policy, 2007, vol. 7, issue 4, 288-303
Can an integrated approach to mitigation and adaptation offer opportunities for a more effective response to climate change than the current strategies? The nature of the linkages depends on the dimensions: economic, institutional or environmental, and on the scale. Differences are pervasive: adaptation and mitigation usually have different temporal and spatial scales and are mostly relevant for different economic sectors, so that costs and benefits are distributed differently. The article concludes that generally the global, regional and-in most countries-national potential of synergetic options to mitigate and adapt to climate change is relatively low, and both strategies should be considered as complementary. However, a few notable exceptions are identified in the land and water management and urban planning sectors, in particular in countries or locations where these sectors provide important adaptation and mitigation opportunities. What is the theoretically most efficient and least expensive mixture of adaptation and mitigation policies may not be a very urgent policy question. Instead, five pragmatic ways of broadening climate policy are suggested, while taking into account the linkages between adaptation and mitigation: (1) avoiding trade-offs -when designing policies for mitigation or adaptation, (2) identifying synergies , (3) enhancing response capacity , (4) developing institutional links between adaptation and mitigation-e.g. in national institutions and in international negotiations, and (5) mainstreaming adaptation and mitigation considerations into broader sustainable development policies.
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