Are we adapting to climate change?

Short Description

Human systems have to adapt to climate change and understanding the magnitude of the challenges at a global scale is incomplete. Here a method is developed and applied to track and characterize adaptation action across peer-reviewed literature. Our results support the following six assumptions:

  1. Considerable adaptation research has been conducted, though most of the studies report on intentions to act and not actual adaptation action.
  2. Climate change is rarely the only motivator for adaptation action.
  3. Extreme events across regions are significant stimuli for adaptation.
  4. Proactive adaptation is the most reported adaptive response.
  5. Adaptation action is reported more frequently in developed nations.
  6. A gap in reporting exists regarding taking advantage of climate change, or adaptive actions focusing on women, elderly, or children.

Suggested Citation

Lea Berrang-Ford, James D. Ford, Jaclyn Paterson, Are we adapting to climate change?, Global Environmental Change, Volume 21, Issue 1, February 2011, Pages 25-33, ISSN 0959-3780,