Woman in her rice paddies, village of Thmey, Cambodia. Credit: Jack Picote/Oxfam
Everyone has a part to play in fighting climate change

Questions and answers on Oxfam and climate change

Lost in a swamp of questions about climate change? We've put together some questions and answers to help explain why it's an issue Oxfam is working on.

Why is Oxfam campaigning on climate change?

At Oxfam, we are passionate about ending poverty – yet our work is being increasingly undermined by changes in the world’s climate.

For poor people, who are dependent on predictable weather patterns, the damage brought about to land and crops – whether by increased flooding, droughts, or rising sea level rises – can mean no food, no earnings, and no way to secure a better future.

It's not going to happen for years and years, so why bother now?

Climate change is happening now. It is real and it is already having a devastating impact on the world’s poorest people.

While we can’t yet pin any single weather event on climate change, what we’re seeing – like the recent floods in Pakistan, Benin and elsewhere – matches climate change predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s scientific body which assesses the potential impacts and ways for coping with climate change

If we don’t want to see the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people suffer more, we must act now to curb the impact of climate change.

Why should rich countries act first?

Everybody has a part to play in combating climate change. That’s why we all have to act. But it is rich countries that have emitted the most carbon, and reaped the benefits of intense use of fossil fuels.

Therefore rich countries must now provide the money to enable people in developing countries to adapt to the changes in their climate, changes that are already happening.

Rich countries must lead the way in reducing carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. By doing so, other growing economies, like China and India, will follow so that world emissions can be cut by at least 50 per cent by 2050.

How will my individual actions change things?

We’re all in this together. And it’s only by working together, taking personal actions and making sure those in power know about it, that we can make change happen.

It might not seem like much, but changing simple behaviors in our lives – like using energy saving lightbulbs, not leaving applicances on 'stand by,' and by walking, biking or using public transport instead of driving – all add up to make a big difference.

Each one of these positive actions helps to send a clear message to world leaders that they too must play their part in tackling the problem.

Read more

Join our petition to get leaders to support a Global Climate Fund.

Read our Climate Change blog.

View a slideshow of people around the globe who are challenging world leaders at the UN to Fight Climate Poverty.