Adapting to Climate Change
Key Federal Resources
"Adaptation" refers to the adjustments that societies or ecosystems make to limit the negative effects of climate change or to take advantage of opportunities provided by a changing climate. Adaptation can range from a farmer planting more drought-resistant crops to a coastal community evaluating how best to protect its infrastructure from rising sea level.
Adaptation actions can be:
- Reactive: responding to conditions that have already changed.
- Anticipatory: planning for climate change before impacts are observed.
Many governments and organizations across the United States and the world are already adapting to climate change. This is important because we are already seeing the impacts of climate change – including sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and more frequent incidences of heat waves and other extreme weather events. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is required to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, a certain amount of global warming is inevitable, due to the long-lasting nature of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, and to heat already stored in the oceans. Adapting to the changes that are already underway, and preparing for future climate change, can help reduce the risks societies will face from climate change.
Learn what EPA and the Federal Government are doing to adapt to climate change.