About mitigation and adaptation
Any comprehensive long-term strategy for minimizing the risks associated with climate change requires the combination of planned adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.
Adaptation refers to initiatives and measures to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to actual or expected effects of climate change. They aim at minimizing potential impacts of climate change, and to reduce, with the least cost, the adverse effects on health.
In the context of health protection, adaptation encompasses all actions that protect populations from the health impacts of climate change. For adaptation to be effective, it is necessary to understand the current and projected climate change impacts and their implications for health, and then to develop and implement a range of responses to ensure an optimal level of adaptation.
Mitigation refers to actions that limit the extent and rate of climate change by constraining the emissions of greenhouse gases or enhancing their sinks.
Mitigation entails several public health benefits, for instance increased physical activity due to the promotion of cycling and walking, and pollution reduction associated with increased non-motorized transportation.
Efforts to integrate health in mitigation and adaptation policies are best supported by adequate accountability and monitoring of the effectiveness of the interventions, as well as their costs, benefits and distributional impacts.