Suffering the Science

Climate Change, People and Poverty

 Abir Abdullah/EPA'Suffering the Science' combines the latest scientific observations on climate change, with evidence from the communities Oxfam works with in almost 100 countries around the world, to reveal how the changing climate is already hitting poor people hard.

The report outlines evidence of how climate change is affecting every issue linked to poverty and development from access to food and water to health and security.  It warns that without immediate action 50 years of development gains in poor countries will be permanently lost.

One of the most worrying trends highlighted in the report is the impact of erratic weather on agriculture. Poor farmers, who can no longer rely on seasons, are losing crop after crop because of sudden heat waves or heavy rains.

Key recommendations

Rich industrialized countries created the climate crisis and they have the financial resources to tackle it. This gives them a double duty to act:

  • Mobilize the $150bn needed – in addition to existing aid commitments – to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce emissions.
  • Commit to delivering their fair share of their emissions reductions needed the science tells us this means an overall cut in emissions of at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

‘Suffering the Science’ is being published ahead of the G8 Summit in Italy (8-12 July, 2009) where climate change is on the agenda.