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Adaptation Policies

What do we mean by 'Adaptation Policies?'

As we grapple with ways to restrict carbon emissions, promote consumer advocacy, and condemn colonizing extractive industires, we are still forced to live with the inescapable effects of climate change occurring in the present. Therefore, we must find ways to adapt to the many unavoidable changes prompted by this crisis. Because we have already emitted extensive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a changing climate is inevitable. Therefore, global leaders, policymakers, and researchers must now seek ways to adapt to the effects of climate change which the globe is already experiencing.

What do 'Adaptation Policies' look like?

Short answer: it depends. To plan adaptation strategies, policymakers and governments assess the vulnerabilities of of a certain area noting contrasting vulnerabilities between urban and rural communities as well as contrasting vulnerabilities between particular economic sectors such as agriculture, commerce, fisheries, etc[5]. In assessing vulnerabilities, policymakers examine community-specific stress along with the resources available to those communities [9].

These adaptation strategies and levels differ by region and by community as the ability to adapt to a changing climate relies on factors such as… 

  • Access to information and financial resources
  • Cultural and social capital
  • State of development
  • Land availability

The adaptive capacity of communities, countries, regions, etc. remains closely linked with the level of development[4], and therefore, sustainable development often appears in discussions surrounding adaptation policies and strategies. Sustainable development, most clearly outlined in the United Nations’ Goals for Sustainable Development, is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”[6,7]. As a practice, sustainable development focuses on the balance between three essential components: environmental protection, social inclusion, and economic growth [7]. 

How do we adapt?

Researchers have pointed out several key areas that must be addressed to improve global climate response planning specifically within Central America such as… 

  • Improving climate monitoring science
  • Increasing access to science
  • Expanding research about climate change 
  • Adaptation strategies [5]. 


Unfortunately, the long-term planning and attention required to create these strategies in a meaningful way comes at a lofty price. For innumerable reasons (including continued colonization and political instability due to imperialist interfering), many Central American countries maintain a lower income; therefore, climate crisis policy is often viewed as conflicting with more "pressing" issues facing countries and governments such as poverty, food insecurity, and lack of infrastructure[5].

Examples of possible adaptation strategies in Central America… 

Water Use

  • Improvements to water storage, irrigation, and use of rainwater[4]
  • Emphasis on the conservation of watersheds and wetlands and the restoration of degraded lands[4,9]
  • Installation of irrigation systems that protect crops when precipitation falls below optimal levels[4]
  • Reduction of land and resource concessions to multinational corporations such as mining and hydroelectric projects that impinge on the health of waterways and bodies of waters[10]
  • Development of water management systems that focus on preparedness for water scarcity issues[5]
  • Promotion of agronomic practices that minimize water use like fallowing (leaving land unplanted for a period of time), groundwater management, no-till operations, and planting cover crops (plants planted specifically to benefit soil instead for crop yield) [5]


  • Development of climate resistant crops that can grow despite highly variable climate and weather conditions[2]
  • Establishment of seed banks to protect crop germplasm and therefore would further ensure the crop supply[2]
  • Improvements to crop management by adjusting planting dates and fertilization rates[4]
  • Use of climatic forecasts in agricultural planning[4]
  • Development of research on the impacts of climate change on agricultural yields and production[4]

Renewable energy 

  • Establishment of a carbon tax to limit carbon emissions[2]
  • Reduction of land and resource concessions to multinational corporations involved in the fossil industry to inhibit fossil fuel extraction[10]
  • Elimination of government subsidies for fossil fuels [2] 
  • Use of sugarcane as a source of biofuel[5]

Urban Areas

  • Incorporation of climate change impacts such as flooding and extreme weather events into wider city planning[5]
  • Increase in green areas in urban areas to restrict the urban heat island effect [5]