CAFOD report says climate change hits the poor first and worst
The dry and sparse environment in Marongero village, Zimbabwe.
CAFOD has released a new report into the effects of climate change. What have we done? How the changing climate is hitting the poorest hardest looks at how climate change is impacting upon food security and the lives of the poor, in particular the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.
Work to be done
World leaders have made progress on tackling global hunger in 2013. However, no commitments have been made to help the 2.5 billion small-scale farmers who the UN says are ‘the key to tackling hunger’. Despite feeding half the world’s population, many small-scale farmers already struggle to feed themselves and their families due to the power imbalance in the food system. And the situation is only getting worse: our new report – What have we done? –highlights how communities already facing the problems of poverty have had their situations worsened by changes in climate and environmental damage.
The report looks at how those changes can result in a shortage of food and rising food prices as well as, in some cases, immediate destruction of infrastructure and even death. This is especially true in areas that lack the means to prepare for and recuperate from dramatic climate shifts such as typhoons and drought.
Sarah Wykes, CAFOD’s lead policy analyst on climate change and the environment said: “We are releasing this report at a key time in the global debate on climate change – only weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced with 95 per cent certainty that human beings are responsible for the increases in global warming seen in the last 50 years, and ahead of next month’s United Nations climate conference in Warsaw. The IPPC points to a shared global responsibility to tackle the root causes of climate change and support those who are vulnerable to its impacts – particularly poor people who have the fewest resources to cope. This message is at the heart of What have we done?”
Keep calling for change
Bishop John Arnold, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Westminster and CAFOD chair, supported the release of the report. He said: “As CAFOD’s report explains, the effects of climate change are getting worse. It is producing more and more devastating, extreme weather events as well as slower, subtle shifts in seasons and weather. For the world’s poorest people the end result is often a lack of food, water and a crippling inability to earn a living and work themselves out of poverty.
"But there is hope. With determination and concerted action from politicians and people everywhere, we can provide a beautiful, flourishing planet for many generations to come.”
As well as continuing to call for empowering aid to small scale farmers through Hungry for change CAFOD is also calling for ambitious, fair and legally binding deals on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2015, and for governments to invest more money in helping communities who are experiencing the devastating impact of climate change and changing weather.
Add your name to the Hungry for change campaign and help us keep up the pressure on government to provide greater support for small-scale farmers.
Listen to Sarah Wykes discuss What have we done? on Vatican Radio below.