Adaptive Capacity

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Some of the definitions below may refer to Adaptation to Climate Change.


European Definitions

RESIN project

The RESIN project [1] gives the following definition:

The ability of systems, institutions, humans and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences [2]

Other International Definitions

National Definitions


The adaptive capacity of a country depends on what institutions, skills and resources it has available. [3]

United Kingdom (UK)

Adaptive capacity describes the ability of a sector to design or implement effective adaptation measures, using information on possible future climate change and extreme weather to moderate potential damage, take advantage of opportunities or to cope with the consequences. [4]

Other Definitions


The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate change variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences. [5]

Standard Definition

Discussion Topic

See also


[6] [7]

  2. Mach, K.J., S. Planton and C. von Stechow (eds.). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Annex II: Glossary. [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 117-130.
  3. Combating Climate Change: The German Adaptation Strategy
  4. The National Adaptation Programme: Making the country resilient to a changing climate, UK Government (2013)
  5. Preparing for a Changing Climate: Second Consultation to Inform Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework
  6. RESIN project webpage
  7. IPCC, 2014: Annex II: Glossary