Adaptation to climate change goes hand in hand with mitigation efforts. Adaptation is the process of adjusting to the consequences of the changing climate and to limit its impact on socio-economical activities and the environment. Adaptation translates into a shift of human activities in response to the effects and consequences of climate change, as well as anticipating the future impacts of climate change to prepare to major upheaval and reduce its negative impacts on nature and human activities.
The need for adaptation has been recognized by scientists and policymakers at the international political level. In 2015, all Parties of the Paris Agreement committed to increase the ability of all to adapt by strengthening the global response to climate change. More recently, countries adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP 26 (Conference of the Parties), calling for a doubling of finance to support developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change and building resilience. Several countries have also developed National Adaptation Plans since 2011 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
What space technology can do for climate adaptation:
Space technologies have demonstrated to be crucial for addressing consequences of the changing climate. Earth observation and navigation satellites for instance are powerful tools to guide and inform societies’ adaptation strategies. Those technologies are essential to identify locations vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They can also serve in predicting trends in the occurrence and extent of climate change related events. As climate change related disasters are increasing, space technologies contribute to risk reduction efforts. Satellites are used for early warning mechanisms and contribute to protect vulnerable communities in areas likely to be hit by severe damage. Ocean-related data, like temperature, ice coverage, salinity, and sea level change – are essential in modelling the climate change and forming adaptation measures. The space-based instruments are an integral component of the ocean observing system. Likewise, space technologies are used in drought and flood management for agriculture, contributing to adaptation responses.
Space technologies highly contribute to early warning systems and emergency preparedness which derives from climate adaptation. The well-established mechanisms of UN-SPIDER and the International Charter Space and Major Disasters have used space technologies for disaster risk reduction and adaption for more than 15 years.
Examples of climate change adaptation enabled by space technologies: