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.
- 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.
Trócaire is also proud to partner with Green Schools. This programme looks at challenges such as sustainable consumption, climate justice and sustainable development.
Working with parishes and diocese
Trócaire is bringing the issue of climate change to parishes and diocese. In 2014, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference released an updated version of 'The Cry of the Earth' a Pastoral Reflection on Climate Change. To accompany this, Trócaire has developed 'GLAS' a pastoral resource.
Photo: Eoghan Rice/Trócaire. Andrew Lodio from Lokitaung in northern Kenya during drought in 2011