The right to survive in a changing climate (2009)

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Driven by upward trends in the number of climate-related disasters and human vulnerability to them, by 2015 the average number of people affected each year by climate-related disasters could increase by over 50 per cent to 375 million. This figure is likely to continue to rise as climate change gathers pace - increasing the frequency and/or severity of such events - and poverty and inequality force ever more people to live in high-risk places, such as flood plains, steep hillsides and urban slums, while depriving them of the means to cope with disaster. Climate change is a human tragedy that threatens to completely overload the humanitarian system. The potential human costs are unimaginable, and will be borne overwhelmingly by those least responsible for causing the problem: the world's poor. The responsibility for climate change lies with industrialised countries, which must take urgent action to:
  • stop harming - by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020; and
  • start helping - by accepting their obligations to pay for adaptation in the developing world - at least $50 billion a year - and bolstering the humanitarian system.
So far, industrialised-country action on all these fronts has been nowhere near what is required, with the result that hundreds of millions of lives and livelihoods from now and into the future are at risk.
Language: English
Imprint: Oxfam International: 2009
Series: Briefing note,