Elisabeth Tamara, 10, with Nevado Huascaran - the highest mountain in Peru - in the background. Credit> Gilvan Barreto/Oxfam
Because it’s about people.

Why is Oxfam calling for urgent action on climate change?

The catastrophic effects of climate change are hitting the poorest people first and worst.

Oxfam is seeing the effects around the world as unpredictable weather patterns cause droughts, floods, hunger and disease.

Time is running out to limit global warming to 2C. Any more and the effects will be catastrophic and irreversible. It’s a huge injustice because those most affected are those least able to cope and least responsible.

Rich countries have benefited most from carbon-heavy industrialization, so they have a responsibility to use their greater capacity to assist and cut their emissions first and fastest. And, crucially, take the lead in supporting countries that are suffering the damaging effects happening now.

The cost of inaction is enormous. Vulnerable people are at risk of much greater poverty and suffering in the future. In Poznan we must set a clear path towards a fair and effective deal to be agreed by Copenhagen 2009.

Rich countries must stop harming and start helping.

Stop harming

Rich countries must:

  • Lead international efforts to limit global warming to 2C
  • Cut their carbon emissions first and fastest so that world emissions peak by 2015

Start helping

Rich countries must:

  • Provide sufficient resources to help affected countries adapt to climate change
  • Pay their fair share of the $50 billion needed to help poorer countries adapt.


It is vital that world leaders set the course for a fair and effective deal to be signed by Copenhagen in December 2009. A fair deal will ensure that rich countries shoulder responsibility for global emissions reductions and support developing country adaptation.

An effective deal will ensure an emissions reduction goal that minimizes the risk of global warming exceeding 2 degrees Celsius.


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


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