Magazine 2013
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
RH, VOL. 3 JULY 2013  
Climate Change:  
Mitigation And Adaptation.  
Gaurang Yagnik  
Irregular rainfall, floods, sea level rise, melting of ice, water scarcity, loss of bio- diversity,  
extreme climate events and natural calamities are the few examples of the result of climate change.  
Such effects of climate change are not only limited to being an external shock but they also have vast  
and serious impacts on economical, financial, political and social life of human kind. Therefore, ‘Climate  
change is increasingly recognized as one of the key challenges for the 21 century. How climate  
change unfolds and how the world responds to this challenge will decide the major changes and will  
have profound implications for people around the world.’ (TIACCA, 15) The objective of this paper is to  
discuss various consequences of climate change and its mitigation and adaptation keeping in view  
economic, non-economic, social and behavioral factors. This paper is divided in two parts. The first  
part briefly deals with climate change and its possible impacts on different sectors of the economy. The  
second part deals with response to the climate change by humankind i.e. mitigation and adaptation  
aspects including economic, ethical, moral and other aspects of human behaviour which can at least  
ease the problem if not solve it.  
Keywords - Climate Change, Mitigation, Human Behaviour, Adaptation  
As we know, climate change is considered as the greatest threat to the welfare of present as well as  
future generations of mankind and if the issue of climate change is not addressed properly and promptly then  
sustainable development would only be an unrealized dream. Climate change has its impacts on all sectors like  
agriculture, business, fisheries, tourism etc of the economy. The productivity of all these sectors of the economy  
is being affected by climate change. As explained in the executive summary of ‘Towards an ILO approach to  
climate change adaptation’:  
Climate change is already occurring and is having increasingly large impacts on enterprises  
and workers, and on economic and social development. In the longer-term, the increase in  
average temperatures, the alteration of rainfall patterns and rises in sea level will be the most  
significant effects. In the short-to-medium term, the impacts are mostly caused by erratic weather  
patterns and extreme events such as storms, floods and droughts. In most regions these  
impacts on the world of work are negative, disrupting businesses, destroying workplaces and  
undermining income opportunities. In poor countries and communities the impacts on income  
generation, employment and social security can be particularly devastating. Those who have  
done least to cause the problem stand to lose the most. (TIACCA, vii)  
Further this report also explains:  
One way is to see climate change as an external shock and to compare its impacts with those  
of past economic crises. The comparison might be justified as global real GDP decreased by  
around 5 per cent from 2007 (5.2 %) to 2009 (-0.6%) while impacts of climate change are  
estimated to be in the range of a loss of 4–20 per cent of global GDP. 12 Macro-economic  
indicators such as gross fixed investment contracted sharply in 2009, falling by nearly 10 per  
cent. Global trade dropped by nearly 12 per cent. The number of unemployed increased by  
more than 22 million in 2009 alone, with little recovery, and a global unemployment rate of 6.2  
per cent in 2010 compares with 5.6 per cent in 2007. (TIACCA, 17)  
Thus, the change in pattern and productivity in agriculture is a possible effect of climate change which  
may affect food security also. Commerce and trade will also be affected by climate change which may increase  
business risk which in turn leads to abandoning certain areas of business which further leads to reduction in  
employment and reduction in income and which still further leads to reduction in demand at the local level.  
Tourism is also very seriously affected by climate change as it reduces the biodiversity and natural beauty.  
Fisheries is also profoundly affected by climate change. The collapse of species and migration of fish stock can  
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also have severe impacts on economic and social life. In short the climate change can have its overall impact  
on global economy.  
Moreover, other important aspect is that today the impact of climate change is so severe that it has  
questioned the present economic growth model. It is also argued that the present economic growth model is  
the root cause of this severe crisis of climate change. As it is rightly observed by Paul Gilding ‘With the global  
economy now hitting the limits of both planet’s finite physical resources and its capacity to absorb our impact,  
this economy is grinding to a halt’ In other words it is the failure of the growth model and the end of growth  
leading to economical, political, social problems. The moot question now is ‘What to do? How to respond?’  
Generally a response to any problem can be mitigatory and/or adaptive in nature. We as human  
beings always try to reduce the intensity of a problem at the end and on the other try to adjust to it with our  
utmost ability. In the same way the response to the climate change can also be categorized into two categories.  
So far as the mitigation part of response to climate change is concerned, one has to try to reduce the  
intensity and gravity of climate change. i.e. one has to reduce the use of natural resources as far as possible so  
the severity of climate change decreases. It is very important for us not to cross the limits. As pointed out by the  
planetary boundaries report of Stockholm Resilience Centre:  
There were nine boundaries we cannot cross and maintain a sustainable economy. They are  
climate change, stratospheric ozone, land use change, freshwater use, biological diversity,  
ocean acidification, nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the biosphere and oceans, aerosol  
loading and chemical pollution. (Gilding, 187)  
Here one has to remember that mitigation and adaptation in this problem are interrelated because  
mitigation attitude can only lead to adaptive behaviour to mitigate the problem or an issue.  
There are many ways and suggestions to avert the negative impacts of climate change resulting from  
the present day growth model. Few of them are as discussed below:  
ONE Degree War against climate change  
ONE Degree War Project has been suggested by a leading optimist environmentalist and an  
environmental consultant Mr. Paul Gilding and his team in his popular book The Great Disruption. According to  
him there has to be a war–like-attitude to fight the climate change crisis. In his One Degree War against climate  
change he suggests three phases of this plan.  
Phase I:  
Climate war: Years 1-5.  
In which it was assumed that severe steps should be taken to achieve a global reduction of  
0% in gas emissions within first five years. To achieve this, the plan suggested certain steps  
Reducing deforestation.  
Closing coal power plants  
Rationing electricity.  
Installing wind turbine and solar plants.  
Regulating the material.  
Reducing transport emissions.  
Capturing and burning Methane.  
Binding 1 gigaton of Co in the soil.  
Launching a government and community led ‘shop less live more’ campaign.  
Phase II: Climate neutrality: Years 5-20.  
In which net zero climate emissions are aimed and achieved by full utilization of all technological  
opportunities, supported by behavioural and cultural change.  
Phase III: Climate recovery: Years 20-100.  
In which efforts are made to achieve a long period of negative emissions to create a stable  
global climate and a sustainable global economy and to restore the climate towards the pre-  
industrial “normal”.  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Green Economy  
The idea of green economy is a very recent concept conceived by UNEP and ILO and advocated by  
RH, VOL. 3 JULY 2013  
present policy makers, political leaders, heads of states and specialists in environmental economics etc.  
UNEP defines a green economy as one that results in “improved human well-being and social equity,  
while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities” (UNEP 2010). In its simplest expression,  
a green economy is low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in  
income and employment are driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and  
pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.”  
(TGE, 16)  
The importance of the concept of green economy is very well explained in the following quote from  
UNEP’s report Towards a Green Economy:  
This recent traction for a green economy concept has no doubt been aided by widespread  
disillusionment with the prevailing economic paradigm, a sense of fatigue emanating from  
the many concurrent crises and market failures experienced during the very first decade of  
the new millennium, including especially the financial and economic crisis of 2008. But at the  
same time, there is increasing evidence of a way forward, a new economic paradigm – one in  
which material wealth is not delivered perforce at the expense of growing environmental risks,  
ecological scarcities and social disparities. Mounting evidence also suggests that transitioning  
to a green economy has sound economic and social justification. There is a strong case  
emerging for a redoubling of efforts by both governments as well as the private sector to  
engage in such an economic transformation. (TGE, 14)  
Moreover, basically the key aim of a transition to a green economy is to enable economic growth and  
investment which increases environmental quality and social inclusiveness” (TGE, 16) and it was also envisaged  
that “a green economy can meet this challenge by offering a development path that reduces carbon dependency,  
promotes resource and energy efficiency and lessens environmental degradation. As economic growth and  
investment become less dependent on liquidating environmental assets and sacrificing environmental quality,  
both rich and poor countries can attain more sustainable development.” (TGE, 17)  
Now, it is very clear that change towards a green economy will have its impacts on world of work in the  
economy. The transition towards a green economy can change the level of activities qualitatively and quantitatively  
in the economy. This in turn ultimately leads to structural shift in the economy. There will be green restructuring  
in the economy. This restructuring will lead to change in regulations, technology and innovations in the economy.  
And it will also lead to a major shift in market and consumers’ habits, tastes, and preferences. Thus, according  
to the “Skills for Green Jobs: a global view” there are following four drivers of change in the green economy.  
Physical change in environment.  
Policies and regulations.  
Technology and innovations.  
Markets for greener products and services and consumer habits. (SGJ, xviii)  
Ethical measures to adaptation:  
It is a well known fact that economics is the root cause of all environmental problems including climate  
change. It is the rampant consumerism which needs to be controlled as mitigation or adaptive measures to  
fight climate change because control in consumption pattern will change production pattern and which in turn  
it will reduce the use /or exploitation of natural resources. There are many individuals, groups, organizations  
across the globe making their efforts to address these issues regarding environmental problems. Some of  
them are as follows:  
Shop Less, Live More Campaign  
This is the campaign advocating large scale reduction of carbon intensive consumption and  
promoting climate friendly economic activities and trying to educate people regarding quality  
benefits of low-carbon life by shopping less. As Paul Gilding observes that “We would propose  
a bottom-up and top-down campaign to highlight the quality of life benefits of low carbon  
lives with less stuff.”(Gilding pg. 141)  
No Impact Man Movement  
No Impact Man’ is a movement to reduce negative impact of waste resulting from excessive  
consumption. As informed by Paul Gilding this was started by Colin Beavan and his family of  
four in Nov. 2006. During his attempt to try to live for a year with no net environmental impact  
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and “to expand his positive impact through environmental restoration, donations of time and  
money to environmental groups and so on, until his family’s net contribution to the problem  
was zero” (Gilding, 205). A quote by Colin Beavan is worth mentioning:  
We got the glimpse of life with an entirely different rhythm. We began to think  
that . . . The no impact experiment might actually make us happier. It was  
only a seven-day experiment, but it convinced us that living no impact can be  
done, it can be done pleasantly, and that we could conceivably end up happier  
rather that sadder – which is why, God help us, we are in it for a year. (Gilding,  
Compact Group  
Compact’ is another group of ten friends in San Francisco who decided to buy nothing new  
for twelve months. This has led to worldwide groups signed up for “Twelve month shopping  
free zone”.  
Free Cycle Network  
The network of thousands of groups spread over seventy countries world-wide trying to divert  
five hundred tons of waste from landfill every day. The core idea of ‘Free Cycle Network’ is as  
There are groups where people give away unwanted goods to other members  
of their local group who promise to give the goods a decent house – the  
outcomes include reusing useful stuff, reducing landfill waste, reducing the  
need to buy new stuff and perhaps most important bringing communities and  
people together in act of generosity. (Gilding 211)  
All the foregone discussion suggests different ways to combat the problem of climate change. But  
here there are certain issues which need to be addressed simultaneously.  
It is very important that the attitude and mindset of people must change and efforts should be  
made more rigorously in this direction, e.g. In the case of the Compact movement as Paul  
Gilding reports “. . . the compact members found themselves attacked by conservatives as  
Un-American’ and . . . one San Francisco shop even offered ‘Break the Compact discounts’”.  
Gilding. 207) It is this attitude that needs to be changed.  
Turning towards a green economy would be useless if there is no fundamental change in the  
activities of people. If consumers keep on demanding at the same (Business as usual) level as  
today, then mere transition towards a green economy in terms of structural changes,  
technological changes, changes in consumer preference for green products, changes in market  
conditions in favour of a green economy etc. would have less impact. It can just reduce  
nominal use of natural resources. Moreover, this expected transition would also be more  
expensive than carbon intensive economic environment. If people follow the ideas of Swami  
Sivanand (who advocated reducing material demand to attain spiritual and peaceful life) and  
Gandhiji (who advocated non exploitation of natural resources beyond our needs and idea of  
trusteeship, a much better and wider concept than the present day CSR concept) of reducing  
demand itself then only the concept of a green economy can achieve more concrete results.  
The change in consumption pattern based on minimal wants will change the production pattern  
which would be a more sustainable and pro-green economy.  
The sustainability is not precisely measurable in the sense that there are only estimates regarding  
availability of natural resources for present as well as future generations. How much resources  
the future generation wants and how much will be available for them is a question yet to be  
answered precisely. All the present day estimates give different outcomes based on different  
assumptions like ‘Business as usual’ etc., But having said that one must keep in mind that the  
basic idea of sustainability is to think about the future generation and accordingly set the pace  
for a present set of behaviour so that the future generation can at least be sustained and  
Unless there is a change in moral and ethical standards of all the individuals playing as different agents  
in the process of development, the mitigation and adaptation against climate change or attaining sustainable  
development would be a far-fetched dream. We have to find economic solutions, advocated and implemented  
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politically, with highest standards of moral, ethical, and social responsibility to build a truly green economy  
with sustainable development.  
Gilding, Paul. The Great Disruption: How the Climate Crisis Will Transform the Global Economy, London:  
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011.Print.  
Harsdorff, Marek; Maikel, Lieuw-Kie-Song; Mito, Tsukamoto. Towards an ILO Approach To Climate  
Change Adaptation. [1v. (Employment working paper, No.104)], International Labour Office, Employment  
Sector, Employment Intensive Investment Programme. Geneva: ILO, 2011. (Abbr. TIACCA). Print  
Strietska-Ilina, Olga; Christine, Hofmann; Mercedes, Durán Haro; Shinyoung, Jeon. Skills For Green  
Jobs: A Global View: Synthesis Report based on 21 country studies. International Labour Office,  
Skills and Employability Department, Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department.  
Geneva: ILO, 2011 (Abbr. SGJ). Print.  
UNEP, 2011, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty  
Eradication, (Abbr. TGE). Web.  
VOL. 3., JULY 2013  
Place of Publication  
Periodicity of its Publication  
Printer’s Name  
Shree Art Printers  
Publisher’s Name & Address  
Maniben Nanavati  
Women’s College,  
Vallabhbhai Road,  
Vile Parle (W),  
Mumbai - 400 056.  
Editor’s Name and Address  
Dr. Harshada Rathod  
Maniben Nanavati  
Women’s College,  
Vallabhbhai Road,  
Vile Parle (W)  
Mumbai - 400 056.