19 global figures join Oxfam in a call to tackle climate change
19 global figures join Oxfam in a call to tackle climate change

Global artists and leaders join Oxfam’s call for climate action in Poznan

“It is desperately unfair that the poor should again feel the brunt, despite being least responsible.”
Published: 9 December 2008

Actor Scarlett Johansson, broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo are among 19 global figures to join Oxfam in a call to tackle climate change with the urgency it deserves.

With ministers arriving at the UN climate negotiations at Poznan, Poland, tomorrow, the group today call in an open letter to the world’s leaders not to allow the talks to be a missed opportunity. They focus especially on rich leaders, urging them to lead the way and show the political will demonstrated in the face of economic crisis so that dangerous climate change can be averted.

International aid agency Oxfam says climate change is already affecting the lives of millions of poor people around the world and threatening progress made in pulling people from poverty. Rising flood-levels, unpredictable weather patterns, drought and warming temperatures are all having an effect, causing people to lose their homes, health and ability to cultivate enough crops to both eat and make a living.

“It is desperately unfair that the poor should again feel the brunt, despite being least responsible,” reads the letter, also signed by Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier, musician Thom Yorke, actor Gael Garcia Bernal and novelist Ian McEwan.

“Wealthy nations, who are in their advantaged position because of heavy industrialization, are the most responsible and able to lead the world in tackling climate change. This is why they must show leadership in Poland and provide solutions that have the interests of the world’s poor at their heart.”

Progress must be made to stop global warming from exceeding 2C above pre-industrial levels, and funds must be raised to help poor people adapt and protect themselves to the growing dangers of climate change.

The UN talks at Poznan are a midway point between the emotionally-charged conference at Bali last year and Copenhagen next December, where an adequate and fair global deal must be agreed to tackle climate change.

Bert Maerten, leading the Oxfam campaign in Poznan said: “More and more people from all walks of life are demanding that world leaders respond to climate change to avoid runaway climate change and safeguard the futures of millions of poor people.”

Notes to Editors

Signatories of the letter are:

  • Oxfam Global Ambassador Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu,
  • Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier,
  • President of the Polish Humanitarian Organization Janina Ochojska,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Gael Garcia Bernal,
  • novelist Ian McEwan,
  • broadcaster Sir David Attenborough,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Kristin Davis,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Rahul Bose,
  • musician Jarvis Cocker,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Colin Firth,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and musician Annie Lennox,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo,
  • writer Iain Banks,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Scarlett Johansson,
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and actor Bill Nighy,
  • musician Thom Yorke,
  • singer-songwriter Missy Higgins,
  • environment journalist Mark Lynas and 
  • Oxfam Global Ambassador and singer Miguel Bose.