Climate change is change attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.
Climate Change Mitigation is the efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior.
Climate change will require different ways of managing resources. Historical condition is the composition, structure, and functioning of ecosystems resulting from natural processes believed to be present prior to substantial human related changes to the landscape. Naturalness is defined as the way a system
in question would or did function in the absence of humans, and implies a lack of intervention. Together, the values of historical condition and naturalness inform natural resource agency policy.
Climate Change Adaptation refers to efforts by society or ecosystems to prepare for or adjust to future climate change, or the adjustment in natural or human systems to moderate
harm or take advantage of beneficial opportunities. These adjustments can be protective, such as guarding against negative impacts of climate change, or opportunistic, such as taking advantage of any beneficial effects of climate change.
Prospective adaptation enhances or promotes probable future ecological condition.
Retrospective adaptation maintains or restores historical condition.
Resilience is the ability to absorb disturbances from climate change, to be changed and then to re-organize and still have the same identity – in other words, to retain the same basic structure and ways of functioning, including being able to learn from the disturbance. Learning, recovery and flexibility can open our eyes to novelty and new worlds of opportunity (from the Resilience Alliance).
A resilient system can absorb external shocks. Resilience shifts attention from just thinking about growth and efficiency to thinking about methods of recovery and flexibility.
The US Climate Resilience Toolkit has many examples of how people and communities are building resilience.
Regime shifts are large, persistent changes in the structure and function of social-ecological systems, with big impacts on ecosystem services provided by these systems. Ecosystem services are any positive benefit that wildlife or ecosystems provides to people.
Regime shifts are difficult to anticipate and expensive to change. Understanding regime shifts helps communities understand climate change impacts on human economies, societies and well-being.
Some examples of regime shifts being studied are available at the Regime Shifts DataBase.