IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

15.2.2 Vulnerability and adaptive capacity

Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of stress; whereas adaptive capacity, or resilience, is an ability to adjust to stress, to realise opportunities or to cope with consequences (McCarthy et al., 2005).