The world must grapple with two aspects of climate change. Mitigation – reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to slow down climate change. And adaptation – dealing with the consequences of climate change.
There is an urgency to mitigation – greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced as quickly as possible. But this sense of urgency need not spill over into adaptation planning. There is some time to develop good policy and planning for sea level rise. Because so many will be affected, whether it be by flooding, erosion, or changes to groundwater, councils must engage with coastal communities in a measured and empathetic way. The focus should be on preparing well rather than rushing.