Climate change adaptation actions are those that enhance the ability of a society or a natural system to adjust to the (changing) conditions that support life in a certain climate region, including weather extremes in that region. It consists of actions that limit the magnitude or rate of long-term climate change. While Climate Change mitigation generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Adaptation can be achieved through; using scarce water resources more efficiently, planting drought-tolerant/resistant and fast growing crops and choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms, drought, fires & insects.
Effective climate change mitigation on the other hand, will not be achieved if each agent (individual, institution or country) acts independently in its own selfish interest (See International cooperation and Emissions trading), suggesting the need for collective action. Some adaptation actions, on the other hand, have characteristics of a private good as benefits of actions may accrue more directly to the individuals, regions, or countries that undertake them, at least in the short term. Nevertheless, financing such adaptive activities remains an issue, particularly for poor individuals and countries.
Examples of mitigation include phasing out fossil fuels by switching to low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable and nuclear energy, and expanding forests and other “sinks” to remove greater amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Energy efficiency may also play a role, for example, through improving the insulation of buildings. Another approach to climate change mitigation is climate engineering.
Most countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of GHGs at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference of the climate system. Scientific analysis can provide information on the impacts of climate change, but deciding which impacts are dangerous requires value judgments.
In Uganda particularly in South Western region in the programme area where the Eco-Schools Programme has been implemented since 2006, a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures have been promoted in project schools then to the communities surrounding these schools.
Afforestation which is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no previous tree cover has been the major adaptation & mitigation measure promoted in the area. Many acreage of land has been opened up in all the programme schools and woodlots of pure tree stands established. Other trees have been planted especially on school compounds, boundary planting, as well as agro-forestry (trees growing together with crops on the same piece of land).
Climate change has also been adapted & mitigated through Reforestation. Reforestation is the re-establishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, copping, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting) on areas where tree cover has been before.
Other adaptive means to address climate change include; Irrigation of different technologies, solid waste management and waste water treatment, avoiding deforestation, crop land management, promotion and use of renewable energy sources and promotion of organic farming practices.