How To Prepare for Climate Change: A Strategic Approach


How To Prepare for Climate Change: A Strategic Approach

Source: Climate Foresight

Climate change already impacts the world, and its effects will become more severe. Global climate action will address the severity of the impacts, while local adaptation strategies will ensure that individuals are ready to deal with the effects.

14 December 2023 – by Eric Koons   Comments (0)

Understanding how to prepare for climate change is crucial as we witness its acceleration. The world is already seeing the effects of climate change, such as heat waves, food shortages and sea level rise, making it imperative to prepare for its inevitable impacts and find and implement solutions to mitigate its severity.

Both of these requirements apply to a local and world scale. However, large-scale mitigation strategies will have the most impactful changes to the causes of climate change, whereas local adaptation strategies address the regional variability of climate impacts.

How To Prepare for Global Warming – Five Solutions to Climate Change

Completely stopping climate change is all but impossible. Even if global emissions were cut to zero overnight, the Earth’s surface temperature would take thousands of years to cool to pre-industrial temperatures.

As an alternative, global organisations like the United Nations and the International Energy Agency are working to cut emissions at a rate that will avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The Paris Agreement primarily encapsulates this, with the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 oC.

The world needs to be net zero by 2050 to meet this goal. As a result, the primary solutions to slowing climate change relate to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

1. Increasing the Global Share of Renewable Energy and Stop Burning Fossil Fuels

The main pathway to cutting global emissions and preparing for climate change is phasing out fossil fuels in favour of renewables. In 2022, 91% of global carbon dioxide emissions came from burning fossil fuels. Switching to renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydroelectric power will reduce these emissions to near zero.

Additionally, the shift to renewables needs to include diverse energy sources to meet specific energy use cases and capitalise on regional differences in production capability. For example, green hydrogen is ideal for cutting emissions in several hard-to-abate sectors.

The world has to make significant progress in the coming three decades to reach net zero, with only 7.5% of global energy consumption coming from renewables in 2022. However, there are some promising trends, and the IEA estimates global renewable energy capacity will increase by 75% by 2027.

Renewable energy growth projects over time.
Source: IEA

2. Improving Energy Efficiency

Another auxiliary step in shifting to renewables is improving the energy efficiency of industries, buildings and transportation systems. As efficiency improves, energy demand declines, which makes achieving a full renewable energy system more attainable. This can be achieved through various means, such as better building insulation, more efficient industrial processes and the adoption of electric vehicles.

3. Removing Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere

Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be necessary unless all coal and gas-fired energy systems are removed by 2050 – which will be challenging. This will help balance out fossil fuel systems that remain in place past 2050.

This can be done in two ways: by enhancing natural carbon sinks or with carbon capture and storage (CCS). Improving natural carbon sinks typically focuses on planting trees and managing land sustainably. These biological systems absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere until they decompose. About 30% of all fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide is absorbed by forests.

On the other hand, CCS uses human-made systems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it permanently underground. CCS is in its early stages, and its viability is up for debate. However, technology is rapidly improving, and several projects are planned for the coming years.

4. Sustainable Agricultural Systems

Transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices is essential for reducing emissions. Food production accounts for up to one-third of global emissions. Using climate-smart agricultural practices like crop diversification, sustainable organic gardening and early warning systems will help reduce emissions, improve natural carbon sinks and feed the world’s growing population more sustainably.

Different parts of climate change smart agriculture
Source: US Farmers and Ranchers

5. Investment in Climate Research

Investing in climate science and technology is essential for developing innovative solutions to combat climate change. Technological advancements in fields as diverse as renewable energy and manufacturing will be critical in supporting climate change mitigation efforts. Without new technologies, keeping global warming below 1.5°C will be challenging.

What Should I Be Doing To Prepare for Climate Change?

Beyond the global actions that will help mitigate climate change, there are actions that individuals and organisations can take to be ready for climate impacts.

1. Get Educated On Global Impacts

The first step in preparing for climate change is understanding its global impacts. This allows you to be up-to-date, knowledgeable and aware of what is happening globally.

This can translate into your involvement in local adaptation or mitigation efforts and increasing local awareness of climate change-related initiatives. Furthermore, understanding these impacts can help individuals, communities and governments make informed decisions about how to adapt and respond.

2. Be Prepared For Local Impacts

Understand the risks of climate change in your local area. One of the primary considerations is how climate change-related natural disasters can affect where you live. For example, areas near coastlines should prepare for hurricanes or tropical storms, whereas inland areas may need to be aware of wildfires. Knowing these risks allows you to take steps to react quickly if they occur.

3. Business Resilience

For businesses, adapting to climate change means both mitigating your impact on the environment and preparing for climate-related disruptions. This can include adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing waste and energy use and developing contingency plans for extreme weather events.

A Global Imperative To Adapt

Preparing for the worst consequences of climate change requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society. While individual actions are necessary, global cooperation and extensive financial support are essential to combat encroaching climate chaos effectively.

By embracing the solutions and preparedness strategies, we can work towards a more sustainable and resilient future, reducing the impacts of climate change and safeguarding our planet for future generations.

by Eric Koons

Eric is a passionate environmental advocate that believes renewable energy is a key piece in meeting the world’s growing energy demands. He received an environmental science degree from the University of California and has worked to promote environmentally and socially sustainable practices since. Eric’s expertise extends across the environmental field, yet he maintains a strong focus on renewable energy. His work has been featured by leading environmental organizations, such as World Resources Institute and Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

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