Last week I attended a sea level rise symposium, and was struck at how ingrained it is to think of climate change mitigation (reducing the causes) and adaptation (responding to the consequences) as two completely distinct concerns. For example, the National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change both neatly put adaptation and mitigation into separate categories. What this does is make the costs of climate change action appear to be a double whammy and an almost insurmountable job.
I came up with the term “adaptigation” because there are economically profitable ways we can both mitigate and adapt with the same action, but few of the experts seems to recognize it (mostly they just say we have to do both). One example is distributed solar or wind power. It both reduces emissions, and simultaneously provides local resilience against failure of our large scale, vertically integrated energy infrastructure, which Superstorm Sandy and Katrina – fueled by warming oceans – exposed as vulnerable. In fact, locally generated energy is not only good for the local communities; it ends up benefiting the larger grid.
Based on the turnout at last Sunday’s NewtonSolarChallenge workshop (pictured above), Newton seems ready to take the next step in energy independence and climate adaptigation. If you missed it, you have another chance this evening, 7pm, at the Auburndale Community Library.