While mitigation is essential to reduce the future severity of climate change, it will take time and some effects will inevitably continue for centuries.

Consequently, more attention is now being directed to adaptation as a means of reducing losses. As the importance of adaptation becomes more apparent, there is need for wider appreciation and understanding of the concept and its potential as well as the obstacles to its effective deployment.

This reader pulls together and makes sense of some of the most significant writings on adaptation to climate change from the past two decades. An introduction maps out the field and traces the evolution of adaptation from a biological concept into a policy objective. The literature is divided into five sections: Adaptation Science; Adaptation, Coping and Resilience; Adaptation, Risk and Vulnerability; Adaptation and Development; Adaptation and Climate Change Policy.