Climate actions have often fallen into one of two strategies: mitigation efforts to lower or remove greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation efforts to adjust systems and societies to withstand the impacts of climate change.
The reality is that adaptation and mitigation are two sides of the same coin. In fact, methods and technologies that curb both already exist. Below are five solutions that can simultaneously address climate change and help us cope with its impacts at the same time:
- Protect Coastal Wetlands – These serve as natural water filtration systems and marine habitats. They defend coasts against sea level rise by buffering storm surges and floodwaters, and store tons of carbon in their roots and soils. Increasing protected coastal wetlands and recovering about 40% of the ecosystem’s global coverage by 2050 could mitigate one gigaton of CO2 per year — over three years of emissions.
- Promote the Benefits of Sustainable Agroforestry – Agroforestry practices integrate diverse trees or shrubs with crops and livestock. In particular, pastures with trees can sequester five to 10 times more carbon than treeless areas of the same size. Farmers can also be more productive by growing crops and raising livestock simultaneously using significantly less land.
- Decentralize Energy Distribution– Decentralized systems — often powered by renewable energy, with shorter transmission lines and smaller distribution areas — are more climate-resilient. In the event of a disaster, a community with its own decentralized energy supply isn’t affected by power outages in other areas.
- Secure Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights – It has been seen that places where indigenous people have legal rights to their land have at least two times lower deforestation rates than similar areas without secure tenure, as seen in Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia. Indigenous people and local communities have protected forests that hold a quarter of all above-ground carbon in tropical forests.
- Improve Mass Transit – Road transport accounts for 72% of global transportation-related emissions. Expanding urban public transportation by 40% by 2050 could decrease the projected number of cars on the road and avoid 6.6 gigatons of carbon emissions.
The climate crisis is massive and urgent. Given limited funding, resources and attention that can be allocated to solving it, policymakers need to prioritize such integrated efforts.
Reference- World Resources Institute, Project DrawnDown, Clean Technica