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Term Definition
Potential impacts Impacts that occur without considering adaptation
Residual impacts Impacts that occur even when adaptation has been undertaken.
Interdependence Interdependence between adapting actors occurs when the actions of one actor will affect the others.
Individual adaptation Individual adaptation consists in situations when the adaptation actions of an actor effect only themselves. Interdependence is not present. A typical example of individual adaptation is a farmer choosing what crop to plant.
Collective adaptation Collective action means that there is interdependence between the adapting actors, in the sense that the actions of one actor will affect the others. Typical examples involve common-pool resource use, such as when farmers use groundwater from a common aquifer for irrigation.
Private adaptation Private adaptation consists of situations in which persons act in their own interest when they perceive a threat from climate change or foresee a benefit from this action. Examples would be farmers adapting their cropping patterns, or coastal dwellers flood-proofing their homes.
Public adaptation Public adaptation consists of situations in which a public actor takes action with a fiduciary duty to act in the public interest. Public actors include local authorities, government ministries, public water boards, etc. - anyone acting on behalf of the citizenry.
Flexibility An option is flexible if it allows for switching to other options that might be preferable in the future once more is known about the changing climate.

References AP home Glossary

Entry point

Adaptation situation:
  • Climate change is a concern and you are wondering whether and how to adapt.