Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies for a Better Future
The climate of the earth is changing. Observations and state-of-the-art numerical model simulations unequivocally suggest that there has been an unprecedented rise in global mean surface (land and ocean) temperature, increase in sea level, greenhouse gases and heavy rainfall events and decrease in snow and ice cover. Climate change can be attributed to both ‘natural’ (occurring on geologic time scales) and ‘anthropogenic’ (man-made) factors. Though there are long-term natural variations, rapid changes that have occurred in the recent decades owing to industrialization and anthropogenic activities and their implications are alarming. Global warming of about 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels has occurred due to human activities alone; and at this rate is likely to surpass 1.5°C somewhere by the middle of this century leading to serious consequences. Furthermore, the climate related risks associated with a warming of 2oC are projected to be more severe. Increase in extreme temperature, frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events and droughts, increase in aerosols, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, deforestation, rapid loss of snow cover and ice imply enhanced risks for plant and animal biodiversity and chances of loss of species and ecosystems. As per the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC (Masson-Delmotte et al., 2018) these risks will further depend on the intensity and rate of warming, location, developmental status and vulnerability, and adaptation and mitigation strategies adopted.
Climate and impact assessment model projections however also indicate that such risks are likely to be reduced if adequate adaptation and mitigation strategies are adopted. With significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and taking right decisions and actions the global warming can be limited to 1.5oC and also help in eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities. As for example, increased management of refrigerants, increased use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, rapid afforestation, education of girls and family planning, shifting towards a vegetarian diet and reduction in wastage of food can significantly help in global CO2 emissions.
This course is therefore aimed at educating and increasing awareness among undergraduate and graduate students about climate change and its impacts in probable warming scenarios of 1.5 and 2.0oC, and urgent actions that are needed in terms of adaptation and mitigation strategies. The course is also intended to be beneficial to professionals from diverse fields and individuals interested in gaining knowledge. The course will have study materials in the form of ppts and pdfs, videos and other online resources. There will be assignments, quizzes and online group discussions in order to help the learners gain a better grasp of the subject.
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Dr Subhadeep Halder is an Assistant Professor at the K. Banerjee Centre of Atmospheric and Ocean Studies (KBCAOS), University of Allahabad, India.
Curt Newton is Director of MIT OpenCourseWare, which freely shares materials from thousands of MIT courses used by millions of learners and educators around the world. He is personally drawn to find new ways to combine open education and climate action. At MIT, he co-produced and co-hosted 3 seasons of the Climate Conversations podcast; helped build the ClimateX online community which became MIT’s online climate portal; and has been a staff representative on the MIT Climate Action Advisory Committee. As a citizen, Curt facilitates simulation games and workshops for the nonprofit Climate Interactive, and is a volunteer leader working on city and state campaigns with 350 Massachusetts.