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Climate change

Climate change is already a daily reality for communities in many developing countries. It massively impacts their ability to access enough water or grow enough food to survive, let alone thrive.

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Photo: Andrew Lodio from Lokitaung in northern Kenya during drought in 2011

Effects of Climate Change

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

It is predicted that yields from ‘rain-fed’ agriculture will drop by 50% by 2020 – deepening the food and water crises we already face.

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.

How we work on climate change

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.

Recent climate change programme impacts 2014-2015


hectares of land were rehabilitated in Ethiopia to increase farmland for rural families.

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fruit and forest trees were planted In Pakistan to nourish land and provide fruit.


hectares of land were conserved in Nicaragua to increase farmland for families and protect the land against erosion.

Impact of our livelihoods and climate change programmes

Last year, Trócaire supported livelihoods programmes in 14 countries, benefiting an estimated 794,898 people directly and 1.5 million people indirectly. Much of this work supported rural families to cope with climate change. Examples include: 

  • We helped 169 communities in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Kenya to organise natural resource management groups, disaster risk management plans and water and sanitation committees to cope with droughts, floods and manage water supplies.

  • In Ethiopia, 1,580.13 hectares were rehabilitated and in Nicaragua 1,100 manzanas (774 hectares) were conserved to increase farmland for rural families and protect it against erosion. 

  • In Pakistan, 4,790 fruit and forest trees were planted to nourish land and provide fruit. Environmentally-friendly smokeless stoves were provided to 1,217 households.

Calling for immediate action on climate change

Climate justice is a priority issue for Trócaire. We have been lobbying the Irish Government to implement a strong Climate Bill to ensure that we are playing our role in reducing carbon emissions and are calling on our politicians to push for greater carbon emission reductions at a global level.

Internationally, Trócaire also 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).

What you can do

Climate change is a justice and human rights issue - learn more about Climate Justice.

Take action on climate change - find out how you can take Climate Action in 2015.

Latest climate change updates