Adapting to Climate Change


Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, is famous for his climate statement “we’ve always adapted, we’ll adapt.” And in the face of failed efforts to implement global climate policies, there is rapidly growing interest in topics like adaptation and resilience. Because mitigation is so difficult, it would be easy to simply fall back on the adaptation option.

There is no question that adaptation will be an important component of any response to climate change. Climate change is already underway, and adaptation is inevitable. That said, key questions remain:

  • What are the adaptation implications of human societies having evolved during the last 10,000 years of remarkable global climate stability

  • How much climate change are we talking about having to adapt to?

  • Are there limits to what natural and human systems can adapt to?

  • Is adaptation really an alternative to mitigation, or two sides of the same coin?

There are among the topics this chapter of Your Climate Change PhD addressed.