The impacts of global climate change in the United States are already being felt and are projected to intensify in the future, especially without further action to reduce climate-related risks. As the impacts of climate change grow, Americans face decisions about how to respond.
Actions to prepare for and adjust to changing climate conditions—thereby reducing negative impacts or taking advantage of new opportunities—are known as adaptation. The other major category of response options—known as mitigation—involves efforts to reduce the amount and speed of future climate change by limiting emissions or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Adaptation and mitigation actions are linked in multiple ways and can be considered complementary strategies—mitigation efforts can reduce future risks, while adaptation can minimize the consequences of changes that are already happening as a result of past and present emissions.
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