The environmental effects of climate change are well-known. It is threatening wildlife, causing ice caps to melt and increasing the number of weather-related natural disasters.
What is less publicized though is how climate change is driving many of the world’s poorest people dangerously close to the edge of survival.
What are the issues?
The impacts of climate change are complex. Some times gradual, some times sudden, but nearly always hitting the poor first and hitting them hardest.
- It is causing the Himalayan glaciers to melt and if these disappear, it will threaten the viability of farming across huge swathes of South and East Asia.
- In the Pacific, whole islands are having to evacuate, as sea levels rise contaminating the soil with salt.
- People who have farmed cattle in Africa for generations are abandoning their traditional ways of life, as changing weather patterns make cattle rearing impossible.
The world’s scientists have already agreed on the causes, such as burning too much fossil fuel. And we are already seeing some of the impacts. But world leaders have not yet shown the courage and leadership we need to move towards a just solution.
What is Oxfam doing
Oxfam has been responding to increasing numbers of very serious droughts and floods in recent years. We have also been helping poor communities to adapt, such as through better flood defences or drought resistant farming techniques.
We have launched a global campaign because of our experience working with poor communities across the world and because we know that unless we all act now, much worse is to come. Oxfam believes that climate change is a global problem, requiring a global solution – a UN deal that is fair to both rich and poor countries. We are calling on world leaders to support this.
How you can help
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of the problem and wonder whether a single individual can help. It is important to remember that many small actions by many people can and often does, persuade politicians to act. We are all affected and we can all be part of the solution.
Successes so far
In December 2010, significant progress was made toward establishing a global climate change global deal. A Climate Fund was set up that could deliver vital cash to communities already feeling the effects of climate change -- provided that the money to fill the Fund is now delivered. And what's more, a pathway was laid out to ensure pledges to cut emissions are kept in-line with the science.
To find out more about what happened in Cancun, read the archive of our blogs from the climate summit
Read about climate change success stories on our Climate Change Blog channel.
Climate change is one of the reasons food prices have risen to dangerous levels in recent months. Switching land from food production to biofuels is adding to the problem. Read why biofuels are doing more harm than good.
See also Oxfam's Agriculture Campaign.
Oxfam’s is campaigning as part of the tcktcktck coalition in different countries around the world.