Adaptive Capacity And Vulnerability Of A System Essay

1047 Words Nov 20th, 2015 null Page
Adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Another prominent concept relative to policy focuses on a system’s adaptive capacity to respond and the vulnerability of functions that cannot adapt to changing climate. More specifically, adaptive capacity, Burton et al. (2002) argue, is “the ability of a system to adjust to climate change, including climate vulnerability and extremes, to moderate potential damages, to take advantages of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences” (p. 149). That is, there are built in coping mechanisms that allow for a system to evolve in order to maintain functional capacity. Therefore, systems have coping abilities and thresholds that may adapt and flourish within a certain range until it reaches a point when the system can no longer sustain abnormal occurrences (Smit & Wandel, 2006). For example, a system may be able to cope with a drought for the first two years by relying on different resources, however the ability to adapt to this lack of water may not be possible in the third and fourth years because water use may extend beyond system thresholds (Smit & Wandel, 2006; Smit and Plifosova, 2003). Thus, a system’s adaptive capacity, including coping ranges and thresholds, is important to understand when studying climate change.
In turn, vulnerability refers to the degree to which “a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including variability and extremes” (Burton et al., 2002, p. 149). That is, the…

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