Quoted from Background Report: Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy – 3.0 CLIMATE ADAPTATION POLICY

There are two fundamental policy responses to the risk associated with climate change. The first, mitigation, involves efforts to stabilize or reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow or stall changes in climate. Mitigation is the central focus of most national policies concerning climate change, largely driven by international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, which set binding emissions-reduction targets for signatory states.

The second policy response, adaptation, recognizes that despite even the most ambitious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by Canada and other states, a significant degree of climate change is inevitable. Furthermore, it acknowledges that the climate already exerts significant pressure on physical, social and economic systems, which has not been sufficiently addressed. As such, in addition to a concerted mitigation effort, action is required to adapt to both existing and future climate-related stress.