Climate change

Photo: Eoghan Rice/Trócaire. Andrew Lodio from Lokitaung in northern Kenya during drought in 2011.

Climate change is already a daily reality for the world’s poorest communities. It massively impacts their ability to access enough water or grow enough food to survive, let alone thrive.

Changes in rainfall and drought patterns are having a devastating effect on small farmers in the developing world. 

It is predicted that yields from ‘rain-fed’ agriculture will drop by 50% by 2020 – deepening the food and water crises we already face. 
Lack of access to water is a critical concern. 
Today, some 783 million people do not have access to clean water, leading to 4,000 child deaths per day from water-borne illnesses. 
Without urgent action, climate change presents a major threat to right to water for even more people. By 2025, almost two thirds of the world’s population (5.4 billion people) are likely to experience some kind of water stress, and for one billion of them the shortage will be severe.
In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in extreme weather events across the world, with the highest concentration in our poorest regions. 
In fact, there have been almost three times the number of disasters recorded in the last decade compared to the 1970s. And since 2000, the growth rate in the number of people affected by climate-related disasters has doubled
The costs of dealing with climate change effects are rising sharply, impacting more and more on the economies of countries in both developed and developing countries. 
Our inaction is costing us money. The losses that we have incurred because of climate change exceed the cost of low carbon adaptation.
In an Irish context, climate change will have a major impact on the agricultural industry. It is estimated that climate change could cost the Irish agricultural sector between €1 and €2 billion per annum.

Campaigning on climate change

Internationally, Trócaire works with other organisations to call on world leaders to agree to a new global deal to tackle climate change. 
In Malawi, for example, Trócaire works with CADECOM (Catholic Development Commission in Malawi) and the newly established NGO CISONEC to ensure that development of a National Climate Change Policy in Malawi includes issues of climate justice. We have also supported partners such as CADECOM to participate in climate change policy workshops at the international meetings of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Here at home, we have long been campaigning for Ireland to bring in a strong climate law with strong targets. The Irish Government published the revised Heads of Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill on 23rd April 2014. The publication of this draft Bill is welcome, but it lacks the sense of urgency that is required to tackle climate change. 
It will require significant amendments before being passed into law to make it the strong Bill we need. This law should ensure Ireland reduces its carbon footprint and becomes part of the solution to the climate crisis. And so our campaigning and lobbying work will continue.
Get involved:
  • Visit the Up to Us section of our website to find out what you can do to live more sustainably


Trócaire's livelihoods and climate change programmes overseas

Trócaire works with farmers to become more food secure and better able to cope with the impacts of climate change. By increasing their crop yields and diversifying the crops they grow, farmers are in a better position to deal with the effects of a drought, flood or tropical storm.  

Gaining access to  water for irrigation and using techniques that conserve soil and water are part of how farmers are adapting their farming practices for long-term resilience in a changing climate.

Last year, Trócaire supported livelihoods programmes in 15 countries, benefiting some 656,000 people directly and nearly 1.5 million people indirectly. 


Working with schools

Educators can use Trócaire’s climate change education resources in your classroom to bring the issue to students.  

  • Climate Change: A call for stewardship and global solidarity This interactive educational resource is for post-primary CSPE students in the Republic of Ireland and Local and Global Citizenship in Northern Ireland. Each activity has an accompanying slide or slides to support educators as you carry out the lesson. 

Trócaire is also proud to partner with Green Schools.  This programme looks at challenges such as sustainable consumption, climate justice and sustainable development.  


Photo: Eoghan Rice/Trócaire. Andrew Lodio from Lokitaung in northern Kenya during drought in 2011


Fresh from the Blog, Climate change

September 21 is set to be the largest public mobilisation in history against climate change. Trócaire’s Emmet Sheerin writes about reason for this, and calls on people here in Ireland to take part in the worldwide event. On September 21, in towns, villages and cities across the world, people will...
In her new role as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change, Mary Robinson’s task is nothing short of convincing very reluctant world leaders to stop dithering and to respond with the urgency warranted by the threat of climate change, writes Niamh Garvey, Policy Officer   The role is fitting for the...
by Rebecca Smyth, Trócaire Volunteer   In February 2014, Rebecca Smyth travelled to Ethiopia to visit Trócaire projects in the remote southern region of Boranaland. Here she shares her experiences.   Travelling to Ethiopia with Trócaire brought it home to me that small changes make a big difference...