Why would humans not be able to adapt to climate change? Don’t humans adapt easily?
— Can Humans Adapt, Not Go Extinct?
With all the extreme weather events that are happening in the world today, it can feel like the environmental changes that climate scientists have long warned us about are suddenly happening so fast. As such, I am sympathetic to a panicked reaction along the lines of: It’s all over, and we need to get in gear for our new Mad Max reality. But before you start recruiting a band of gauzy-gowned, machine gun-toting waifs, I think it’s worth revisiting the difference between climate mitigation and adaptation.
Climate mitigation includes everything we do to try to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that get into the atmosphere, in an attempt to avoid truly catastrophic levels of global warming: replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, constructing better-insulated buildings to conserve resources, reimagining our entire transportation system, and all that.
These are major changes, of course, and it’s proven deeply difficult ... Read more