bile use or engine design to cut carbon dioxide emissions or limiting the use of certain nitrogen fertilizers to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. They can intervene in human systems (type H) and indirectly control the proximate causes, by investing in research on renewable energy technologies to replace fossil fuel or providing tax incentives for more compact settlements to lower demand for transportation.
Mitigation of ozone depletion might, in principle, involve release of substances that interact chemically with CFCs, producing compounds with benign effects on the stratospheric ozone layer (type E), limiting emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other gases that deplete ozone (type P), or developing alternative methods of cooling buildings that do not rely on CFCs (type H). Mitigation of threats to biological diversity might include, at least in principle, engineering new varieties, species, or even ecosystems to save diversity, if not individuals (type E); limiting widespread destruction of tropical forests, estuaries, and other major ecosystems (type P); or promoting systems of land tenure and agricultural production that decrease the pressure for extensive development of tropical forests (type H).
Humans can intervene in several ways on the response side of the cycle. Such actions are sometimes generically called adaptation, but there are important distinctions among them. One type of response, which can be called blocking, prevents undesired proximate effects of environmental systems on what humans value. It can be described by example. If global climate change produces sufficient warming and drying (drought) on a regional scale, it may threaten the region's crops; development and adoption of drought-resistant crops or crop strains can break the connection between environmental change (drought) and famine by preventing crop failure. Similarly, loss of stratospheric ozone threatens light-skinned humans with skin cancer, through exposure to ultraviolet radiation; avoidance of extreme exposure to sun and application of sunscreens help prevent cancer, although they do not mitigate the destruction of the ozone layer. Tropical deforestation threatens species with extinction by eliminating their habitats; creation of forest preserves would provide many species sufficient habitat to survive, while doing little to slow net deforestation.
Another type of adaptive response is to prevent or compensate for losses of welfare that would otherwise result from global change. Such actions can be called adjustments.4 They neither mitigate environmental change nor keep it from affecting what people value, but rather intervene when a loss of welfare is imminent or after