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13 June 2012

The real-life effects of climate change

The real-life effects of climate change

Climate change is not tomorrow's problem, but today's, according to Alliance member Tearfund, which has released a new report outlining its real-life effects.

The Dried Up, Drowned Out 2012 report has been published ahead of next week's Rio+20 Summit. 

The experts quoted in the report are not scientists but people whose lives are being dramatically impacted by climate change today.

The report gives a human face to the statistics. Vulnerable communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America are living with changing weather patterns and uncertainty on a daily basis.

TK Joy, from Tearfund partner EFICOR in India, says: "We have erratic rainfall. There isn't enough water to cultivate, so there's no food, no grain. Food is not available in the villages. Children die." 

Some members of these communities, like Joao in north-east Brazil, don't know the term 'climate change'. But they have no difficulty explaining what it means. In Joao's case, it's getting up at 4am because it's too hot to sleep, and having no choice but to share your only water source with your cows. 

Laura Taylor, head of public policy at Tearfund, comments: "We hope that releasing Dried Up, Drowned Out 2012 prior to Rio+20 will remind those attending of the urgent need to address climate change now. This is not a problem of the future but one that needs to be met today."

Rio+20 will examine the links between environmental, social and economic concerns so the world can develop in a sustainable way. Tearfund hopes that the Summit will lead to greater international action on climate change, in particular through progress on decreasing global carbon emissions, raising the promised $100 billion a year for climate finance and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

The communities surveyed in Dried Up, Drowned Out 2012 call on rich nations and their leaders to tackle injustice, nationally and internationally, and to pay attention to the views and experiences of the poor.