Humans are causing our climate to change
As greenhouse pollution like carbon dioxide and methane collect in the atmosphere, it acts like a blanket, warming the surface of the Earth. These gasses mainly come from burning oil, coal and gas, as well as industrial agriculture. As the world heats up, we are seeing more devastating cyclones, droughts, floods, food shortages, sea level rise and coastal erosion.
Climate change is a great injustice. It has mainly been caused by rich, industrialised countries, but the effects are being felt worst by people in poor countries, who didn't cause the problem. They are most vulnerable to superstorms, failed crops, dried up rivers, bleached coral reefs and loss of their homes.
Because of this injustice, helping people cope with climate change isn't an act of charity. It's a responsibility. Rich countries must stop making the problem worse, while quickly providing the financing to pay for the damages done. This is called climate finance.
We will not stand by and watch this happen
People all over the world are doing their bit to tackle climate change. Now governments and big businesses have to step up and play their part by cutting greenhouse gas pollution and helping communities adapt to changing climates. We can ensure there’s enough good food for everyone. But people – particularly those across the Pacific – need real action now to avoid the worst effects.
What Oxfam is doing
Calling for urgent action
- Climate change is dramatically changing the world we love. It’s putting our homes, our land and our food at risk. We're calling on world leaders to ensure that money to help people cope with climate change is on the way up, and the pollution that leads to more extreme weather and disasters is on the way down.
- Oxfam takes a leadership role in international climate change diplomacy, calling for the needs of the world’s poorest people to come first. We also amplify Pacific voices by providing support to Pacific island organisations and governments in climate change negotiations.
- Our Pacific neighbours desperately need financing to adapt to climate change, but so far all they have received is crumbs. Oxfam supports innovative ways to generate the funding that poor people need to lower their own emissions and cope with climate change, including an international Financial Transactions Tax, or Robin Hood Tax.
Helping communities protect themselves
- The most intense cyclones, droughts and floods are getting worse. When disaster strikes, Oxfam moves quickly to provide life-saving assistance. We then stay on to help people build back stronger and more resilient.
- Oxfam works with communities in the long term to ensure sustainable sources of food, water and income. This means people are better equipped to deal with the impacts of global warming.
- Papua New Guinea is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Oxfam is working with local groups to regenerate forests and establish terraces to reduce soil erosion. We also provide education on improving soil fertility and crop diversification, so that communities can grow enough food despite changing weather conditions.
- Oxfam works with the Farm Support Association in Vanuatu to plant vetiver grass hedges, which improve the soil and help control erosion. As a result, people have a more secure food supply.
Oxfam New Zealand is standing in solidarity with young people taking action against climate change in the School Strike 4 Climate.
A global humanitarian catastrophe can still be averted if governments make climate action a priority, said Oxfam today ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland from 2 – 14th December.
Commenting on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on limiting warming to 1.5C released today, Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier said: