, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 165-175
Date: 21 Jan 2012

Adaptation, mitigation, and their disharmonious discontents: an essay

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The frequently heard call to harmonize adaptation and mitigation policies is well intended and many opportunities exist to realize co-benefits by designing and implementing both in mutually supportive ways. But critical tradeoffs (inadequate conditions, competition among means for implementation, and negative consequences of pursuing both simultaneously) also exist, along with policy disconnects that are shaped by history, sequencing, scale, contextual variables, and controversial climate discourses in the public. To ignore these issues can be expected to undermine a more comprehensive, better integrated climate risk management portfolio. The paper discusses various implications of these tradeoffs between adaptation and mitigation for science and policy.