Some important terminology

1- Mitigation: “the act of reducing how harmful, unpleasant, or bad something is” (Cambridge Dictionary). “Mitigation” of climate change has become a shorthand way of summing up any and all actions taken to decrease the negative impacts of global warming and its effects.

Interestingly, FEMA, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, has information about mitigation, without once mentioning climate change. I guess this is apropos, considering the U.S. administration is presently “lead” by a climate change denier. However, what the agency states is perfectly applicable to climate change:

U.S. Government Accountability Office/wikimedia

Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. In order for mitigation to be effective we need to take action now—before the next disaster—to reduce human and financial consequences later (analyzing risk, reducing risk, and insuring against risk). It is important to know that disasters can happen at any time and any place and if we are not prepared, consequences can be fatal.

Effective mitigation requires that we all understand local risks, address the hard choices, and invest in long-term community well-being. Without mitigation actions, we jeopardize our safety, financial security and self-reliance.”

2- Adaptation: “the act or process of acclimatizing or adjusting to new environmental conditions and/or events.” Thus, adapting to climate change could include establishing new building code in order to reduce energy consumption, and therefore emissions caused by fossil fuel burning. New code could also include an expectation that new homes be built with the ability to obtain electricity via renewables, and/or with a certain percentage of materials from local or sustainable sources.

Preserving forest Asia

Adaptation also includes the reclamation and regeneration of industrial and/or agricultural lands, and the establishment of gardens according to permaculture principles. Municipal composting programs, an effort to prevent methane production in landfills, is another example of adaptation to climate change. Because there are so many ways to reduce GHG emissions, create carbon sinks, and prepare for the adverse possibilities of climate change, there are literally thousands of ways to adapt.

Here’s a nice little discussion: “Adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimize the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. It has been shown that well planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later.

Adapting farmers in Vietnam

Examples of adaptation measures include: using scarce water resources more efficiently; adapting building codes to future climate conditions and extreme weather events; building flood defenses and raising the levels of dykes; developing drought-tolerant crops; choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms and fires; and setting aside land corridors to help species migrate.”

3- The green economy: “low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”

For a bit of contrast, a Canadian report defines the green economy as “The aggregate of all activity operating with the primary intention of reducing conventional levels of resource consumption, harmful emissions, and minimizing all forms of environmental impact. The green economy includes the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes as they relate to the production of green products and services…

The green economy is a subset of the entire Canadian economy. It does not exist in parallel to the traditional economy, but it includes similar activities and processes. It produces similar goods and services as the broader economy, but also includes new products and services and green processes supporting the production of green products and services.”

Aquaponics/IPCC

This report includes some awesome news on employment: “There is no doubt that greening of the Canadian economy will involve large scale investments in new technologies, equipment, buildings and infrastructure and therefore will be a major stimulus to employment. Based on the definition and supporting framework, the green economy has an impact on employment through (a) the adaption and reallocation of existing jobs; and (b) the creation of new jobs.”

4- A green job– “one that works directly with information, technologies, or materials that minimize environmental impact, and also requires specialized skills, knowledge, training, or experience related to these areas”

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