Image by UNclimatechange

8 November: As 195 governments meet in Poland for the annual UN climate talks, aid organisation CARE International is calling for urgent global action to tackle climate change and its impacts, which are already causing widespread loss and irreparable damage in many of the world’s poorest countries.

Ahead of the opening of the high-level talks in Warsaw, CARE Secretary-General Dr. Robert Glasser said: “Climate change is the most fundamental challenge of our time. Governments must act urgently to limit global warming and to help their citizens cope with its impacts. The risks of inaction, for the world’s poorest people and for us all, are far too great to ignore. This is literally a matter of life and death on an unprecedented scale. Failure to act is not an option.”

In recent weeks, leading climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening now, that human activity is overwhelmingly responsible for causing it and that the world is not acting fast enough to slow the pace of change.

CARE is already witnessing the impacts of these changes on people living in poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries. Direct and indirect effects of unpredictable weather patterns, including more extreme weather events, are affecting food and trade systems, pushing up prices, damaging economies and intensifying conflict over natural resources.

Sven Harmeling, CARE’s climate change advocacy coordinator said: “People living in poverty have done the least to cause climate change. Yet, in the countries where CARE works – in Pakistan, India, Madagascar, Haiti, Peru, Bangladesh, Niger and Nepal for example – the poorest people are now bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. Failure to reduce global emissions is threatening sustainable economic development and undermining people’s efforts to lift themselves out of poverty. Climate change is therefore an extreme global injustice.”

A new joint report from CARE, ActionAid and WWF considers what happens when action to address climate change is insufficient. ‘Tackling the climate reality’ argues that as emissions continue to rise and climate impacts worsen, dramatic loss of life, assets, income and territory are becoming increasingly common. The report calls on governments meeting in Warsaw to establish an ‘international mechanism’ to help nations and their citizens deal with unprecedented climate change ‘loss and damage’.

In response to warnings about the worsening scale and pace of climate change and its potentially catastrophic impacts,CARE is demanding urgent action in Warsaw, which is a critical milestone on the road towards agreeing the next global climate deal planned for adoption in Paris in 2015.

CARE’s demands:

  1. Urgent action to tackle the causes and effects of climate change, taking into account the severity of the latest scientific evidence on the scale and pace of climate change.
  2. Dramatic progress towards achieving a new, binding climate change deal by 2015.
  3. Massively scaled-up efforts to tackle the effects of (and urgently reduce) global emissions.
  4. Financial and technical resources to promote low emission and climate-resilient development in developing countries.
  5. An ‘international mechanism’ to deal with loss and damage from climate change impacts.
  6. The implementation of a Gender Action Plan to help protect poor women, girls and other vulnerable people from the adverse impacts of climate change.
  7. Improved support for smallholder farmers who face unprecedented challenges from poverty and climate change impacts.

Sven Harmeling concludes: “Governments have been able to rapidly mobilise trillions of dollars to bail out the banks and to resource expensive wars. But when it comes to tackling the most fundamental challenge of our time, climate change, governments are standing by as the world goes up in flames. As warning signs of the global climate crisis increase, rich nations who bear the most responsibility for tackling climate change behave as if we have decades to act. We do not. The Warsaw climate talks must represent a step-change in ambition and action. There is not a moment to lose.”


1. For further information or to arrange an interview with CARE International’s climate change advocacy coordinator, Sven Harmeling,contact Jo Barrett, press and communications coordinator, CARE International: jbarrett@careclimatechange.org or +44 (0)7940 703911

2. CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. CARE is helping the most world’s most vulnerable communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached 122 million people around the world. Visit www.careclimatechange.org

3. As global warming continues at an alarming rate, communities around the world are already suffering from unprecedented losses as a result of extreme weather and slow onset climate-related disasters. With no sign of the collective global action required to tackle the climate crisis, the sheer scale of climate impacts which cannot be adapted to are only set to get worse. Following last year's COP18 decision to consider the establishment of an international mechanism to address climate change loss and damage in Warsaw, a new joint report from CARE International, ActionAid and WWF revisits the critical arguments in favour of such a mechanism and proposes a suggested framework for its creation under the UNFCCC, helping to bring the concept to life. Download the report here: http://www.careclimatechange.org/files/tackling_the_climate_reality.pdf. CARE's demands for the UN climate talks in Warsaw are presented in a new CARE expectations paper, 'No excuse for Inaction', available for download here: http://www.careclimatechange.org/files/No_Excuse_for_Inaction_-_CAREs_demands_for_UN_climate_talks_in_Warsaw.pdf 


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