Frequently asked questions

Vulnerability: The degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes (IPCC, 2001). Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity

Adaptation: “The adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities” (IPCC, 2007).

Successful adaptations tend to be thought of as those which reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.  But it is not always easy to know whether an adaptation is likely to be successful or not because this assessment depends very much on the scale at which the assessment is made, and on whether or not the climate impacts that the adaptation seeks to circumvent actually wind up occurring or not.

There also constructive adaptation terminologies explaining types and negative effects rooted in inappropriate adaptation options;

  1. Anticipatory and reactive adaptation:

    Reactive adaptation, adaptation which occurs in response to experienced climatic stimuli, is contrasted with anticipatory adaptation, adaptation occurring in advance of climate impacts being felt.  Although reactive adaptation occurs in response to effects of climate change which have already occurred, both types of adaptation should be planned.  Sometimes the terms ex-ante and ex-post are used to denote similar things (ex-ante meaning before the event and ex-post meaning after it).

  2. Maladaptation:

    Maladaptation can be defined as an action or process which increases vulnerability to climate change and variability, rather than increasing resilience.  Maladaptations can occur as a result of longer term climate change impacts not being taken into account because development is planned against too short a time horizon.  Examples of maladaptations can include land-use changes which decrease the resilience of the landscape. An exampled is the destruction of mangroves for the development of agriculture or shrimp farms, which while potentially providing short term economic gains, greatly increases the vulnerability of coastal zones to salt intrusion, flooding and storm damage, hazards which are all likely to increase in magnitude as climate change progresses.

  3. Hard and Soft adaptations:

    Adaptations are sometimes termed hard or soft.  Hard adaptations involve specific technologies, whereas soft adaptations refer to information, institutional arrangements and capacity building.

  4. High regret, low regret and no regret options:

    Adaptation options may also be referred to as high regret, low regret and no regret.  High regret options are those which require large investments and cannot be reversed.  Infrastructural developments (for example, building expensive flood defences like sea walls) can be considered as high regret options.  Uncertainty in climate predictions is a significant constraint on such adaptations.  Low regret adaptation options involve moderate investment geared towards increasing capacity to deal with future climate risks.  These options consist of incorporating climate impacts into the design of new buildings by over-specifying components, for example, installing drains with a larger diameter than is currently required.  No regret options are those which can be justified under all plausible future scenarios, even if climate change does not occur.  They are likely to involve investment in softer forms of adaptation.


Climate change: Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer) (IPCC, 2001).  Climate change may be due to natural processes or external forcing or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land-use (ibid). Currently, climate change is highly caused by humans releasing greenhouse gasses (mainly carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons), many of which rooted in the use of fossil fuels (Regmi, et al., 2010)

There is a lot of providing reliable energy particularly electricity. This is because initiatives like rural electrification results great benefits to rural communities such as improvements of health facilities, better health from cleaner air as household reduce use of polluting fuels for cooking, lighting and heating, improved knowledge through increase access to television and better nutrition from improved knowledge and storage facilities from refrigerator.

Tanzania is endowed with diverse forms of energy resources including natural gas, hydro, coal, biomass, geothermal, solar, wind and uranium which have not been optimally utilized