What is mitigation?

The numerous mitigation measures that have been undertaken by many Parties to the UNFCCC and the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in February 2005 (all of which are steps towards the implementation of Article 2) are inadequate for reversing overall GHG emission trends. The experience within the European Union (EU) has demonstrated that while climate policies can be - and are being - effective, they are often difficult to fully implement and coordinate, and require continual improvement in order to achieve objectives. In overall terms, however, the impacts of population growth, economic development, patterns of technological investment and consumption continue to eclipse the improvement in energy intensities and decarbonization. Regional differentiation is important when addressing climate change mitigation - economic development needs, resource endowments and mitigative and adaptive capacities - are too diverse across regions for a 'one-size fits all' approach (high agreement, much evidence).

Properly designed climate change policies can be part and parcel of sustainable development, and the two can be mutually reinforcing. Sustainable development paths can reduce GHG emissions and reduce vulnerability to climate change. Projected climate changes can exacerbate poverty and undermine sustainable development, especially in least developed countries. Hence, global mitigation efforts can enhance sustainable development prospects in part by reducing the risk of adverse impacts of climate change. Mitigation can also provide co-benefits, such as improved health outcomes. Mainstreaming climate change mitigation is thus an integral part of sustainable development (medium agreement, much evidence).


Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change IPCCRogner, H.-H., D. Zhou, R. Bradley. P. Crabbé, O. Edenhofer, B.Hare (Australia), L. Kuijpers, M. Yamaguchi, 2007: Introduction. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

Key questions for this area

If you are teaching or studying in the area of mitigation, or are looking to add content regarding mitigation, here are some key questions you should be able to answer and/or consider:

  • What do properly designed climate change mitigation polices need to consider?
  •  Does Australia have a good climate change mitigation policy?
  •  What are the benefits of mitigation?
  •  Will a one size fits all approach work?
  • What approaches exist to assist mitigation efforts?

Useful resources 

If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, check out our resources for inspiration.

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